Founder’s Day is the highlight of the Royal Hospital’s calendar. Ever since 1692, it has been held on or close to 29 May – the birth of King Charles II and the date of his restoration to the throne. 

The Royal Hospital was honoured to receive a visit from Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall last week. Her Royal Highness was originally due to visit on Founder's Day as the Reviewing Officer, but was not able to attend due to Coronavirus restrictions.

This year, the Royal Hospital held a slightly unusual Founder's Day Parade in order to observe social distancing. Although we were very sad our friends, supporters and Reviewing Officer HRH the Duchess of Cornwall could not be in attendance, the Chelsea Pensioners still managed to mark the day with true military spirit.

Following on from our scaled back Founder's Day last week, the most important event of the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s normally busy events schedule. The Governor, Pensioners and staff were sad not to be able to welcome Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall to this year’s Parade as Royal Reviewing Officer and have delivered the below message.

This year the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s annual Founder’s Day parade coincided with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France and was attended by HRH the Duke of Sussex.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent reviewed the Chelsea Pensioners and General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, KCB OBE announced as the new Governor of the Royal Hospital.

The Chelsea Pensioners have paraded at the Royal Hospital Chelsea's Founder's Day on 8 June, reviewed by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.

The Princess Royal attends Founder's Day, and officially opens the recently refurbished Wren designed ‘Long Wards’ by unveiling a plaque at the historic home of the Chelsea Pensioners.

It has been announced that HRH The Princess Anne will be the Reviewing Officer in attendance at this year's Founder's Day.

19 Chelsea Pensioners who served during WWII were awarded the Légion d'honneur by HE Slyvie Bermann, the Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom, in a special presentation before the parade

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Brompton Cemetery Seed Sowing
Sowing wildflowers in memory of past Chelsea Pensioners

On 6 May, Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal Hospital’s grounds team joined representatives from the Royal Parks, the Royal Parks Guild and the Friends of Brompton Cemetery to sow a patch of wildflower seeds in Brompton Cemetery as part of the Battlefields and Butterflies initiative.

Chelsea Pensioner Centenarians
100 years old and still going strong

Recent research backs up the anecdote that Chelsea Pensioners not only live considerably longer than their peers outside (by over five years, on average), but that their lifetimes once they come to the Royal Hospital are extending, year on year. This strongly suggests that the care and community here contribute to greater longevity – as well as improving quality of life. 

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