Chelsea Pensioners celebrate the annual Christmas Cake Ceremony

18th December 2023

Last week, the Chelsea Pensioners gathered in the Great Hall to celebrate the annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cake. 

A festive tradition dating back to 1949, the Christmas Cake Ceremony celebrates the enduring friendship between the UK and Australia. Each year a cake is presented by either the States of Australia or the Australian Defence Forces. This year, the cake was donated by Tasmania and featured the outline of the island state with a message to the Royal Hospital and Chelsea Pensioners. The Royal Hospital were joined by Deputy High Commissioner Elisabeth Bowes, Col Grant Chambers and representatives of Australia's defence forces. 

Chelsea Pensioner Yorkie cuts a cake with a ceremonial sword and the Governor and Col clapping stood either side
The Governor welcomed guests into the Great Hall and introduced the ceremony followed by a speech from Col Grant Chambers which recognised our nations shared military history. 

Each year a selected Chelsea Pensioner has the honour of slicing the cake with a ceremonial sword; Chelsea Pensioner Yorkie, who served in the army for 22 years, was the chosen cake cutter this year. He said:

This is my 12th year at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and I think I have only ever missed one cake ceremony. It's one of my favourite traditions.  I thought it would be an honour to cut the cake this year so I put my name forward and was delighted to be selected. 

The cake is then divided up and given out over the Christmas period to each of the Pensioners to enjoy. 

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