We host a series of events throughout the year exclusively for Friends of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and members of the Governor’s Circle. Our events are not open to the general public, but we do encourage our members to bring guests.

Our bespoke bi-annual programme includes lectures, seasonal on-site events, visits to historic houses and military sites, and more.

The Spring/Summer 2020 programme features a variety of exciting events, including a lecture with Lieutenant General Peter Duffell on his new book Gurkha Odssey, a chance to explore the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on a Chelsea Pensioner led tour and the chance to join us on a coach trip to Knebworth House - home to the Lytton family since 1490.

Please take the time to browse the events programme below, and contact the Membership Officer via friends@chelsea-pensioners.org.uk or telephone 020 7881 5516 for more information and details on how to become a Friend.


The Clothworkers’ Company, founded by Royal Charter in 1528, is one of London’s Twelve Great Livery Companies.

As you walk through the Hall on this fascinating tour, you will take a journey through time –from Wren and Adam to Victorian and Art Deco inspired interiors. Beautifully crafted features from embroidered teasels to plasterwork griffins and gilded rams’ heads can be found in every room.

Clothworkers’ Hall, Dunster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7AH

In this riveting lecture, Dr Smith – who brought to life double-agent and Bletchley Park codebreaker John Cairncross in The Last Cambridge Spy and explored the role of women spies in Women in the Shadow War – gives a fresh and enlightening perspective on this celebrated hub of wartime intelligence.

State Apartments, Royal Hospital Chelsea

It is 1814 and the Bengal Army of the Honourable East India Company is at war with a marauding Nepal. Here the British first encounter the martial spirit of an indomitable foe – the Gurkha hillmen from that mountainous independent land.

Impressed by their fighting qualities and with the end of hostilities in sight, the Company begins to recruit them into their own ranks. Since then these light-hearted and gallant soldiers have campaigned wherever the British Army has served – from the north-west frontier of India through two world wars, to the more contemporary battlefields of the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. They have earned over one hundred battle honours and many Victoria Crosses – all won at much cost.

State Apartments, Royal Hospital Chelsea

Prize-winning author and journalist Andrew Lownie shares the intimate story of one of the 20th century’s most glamorous couples in this compelling lecture.

Dickie Mountbatten was the Supreme Allied Commander of south-east Asia during World War II, last Viceroy of India and a key figure behind his nephew Philip’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth II. Edwina Mountbatten was once the richest woman in Britain, enjoyed numerous affairs and emerged from World War II as a talented and much-loved humanitarian worker. Together, they formed a powerful partnership, whose story played out in British high society and the south of France, in the battlefields of Burma and the Viceroy’s House.  

State Apartments, Royal Hospital Chelsea

This unforgettable summer’s evening of culture begins with a fascinating exploration of the Holland Park homes of leading Victorian artists and ends with a magnificent concert to celebrate the year of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

Tour departs from Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ

On this fascinating tour, you’ll discover more about the British Library’s history, collection and architecture as you visit areas including the Viewing Gallery, George III’s King’s Library and the Reading Rooms – where you will discover how the books are stored and accessed. 

The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Walking the length of our extensive site, you will visit all the main attractions, including the Great Hall, Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent Chapel and Figure Court. The experience will be enriched by the rare opportunity to delve deeper into the Royal Hospital’s history and experience it afresh, through the eyes of its veteran community.

State Apartments, Royal Hospital Chelsea

Enjoy a rare chance to see a magnificent architectural gem on a Saturday, when its doors are closed to the general public. You will tread in the footsteps of royalty and famous politicians, artists and writers, as you explore the city’s only great 18th century house to survive intact.

Spencer House, 27 St James’s Place, London SW1A 1NR

Southwark was a market town in early Saxon times and has had a colourful history over the centuries. Although it only became a cathedral in 1905, there has been a place of Christian worship here for over 1000 years. The cathedral we see today is mainly Gothic. Join us to discover more about the intriguing history of this area.

Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA

Set in 250 acres of beautiful rolling Hertfordshire countryside with 28 acres of formal gardens, Knebworth House has been home to the Lytton family since 1490. Each generation has left traces of their unique style and taste. Stories and heirlooms reflect the family’s contribution to literature, politics, and foreign service. Visits from people as diverse as Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth I have also added to Knebworth’s rich heritage.

Departing from Chelsea Gate, Royal Hospital Chelsea

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Pensioner Leo Tighe sitting on a bench on the Royal Hospital's colonnade
Royal Hospital in the news

The Royal Hospital welcomed BBC's Defence Correspondent Johnathan Beale to see what life is like for the pensioners under these new restrictions and speak with the Hospital's Governor, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw.

Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital with table at entrance with hand sanitizer
A shared purpose at the Royal Hospital

Healthcare systems in countries around the world are facing a considerable challenge in their Coronavirus preparation and response. The increased risk to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions is putting pressure on organisations which have a primary focus on caring for older people.

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