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. 

On a day when the Chelsea Pensioners would traditionally be on parade with over 1,000 service men and women in Salisbury to celebrate Armed Forces Day, this year has seen a very different celebration of this important event.

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.

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.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, this year marked 100 years since the end of the First World War. Today we look back at how the Chelsea Pensioners supported the Centenary commemorations.

Today Chelsea Pensioners, Royal Hospital staff and local school children took part in a Drumhead Service ahead of Remembrance Sunday this weekend.

On the 1st of September the Chelsea Pensioners, in partnership with The Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association for Greater London, proudly led a military Parade down the King’s Road to commemorate Londoners who contributed to the war effort in World War One.

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.

Every year the Chelsea Pensioners are welcome guests on the Channel Islands, for a celebration of history, Liberation and reconciliation.

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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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