The Royal Hospital Chelsea turns 325 years old

3rd February 2017

The Chelsea Pensioners are celebrating the 325th anniversary of the opening of their historic home, the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The doors of the Sir Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital first opened on 4th February 1692, admitting the first 99 Chelsea Pensioners on that first day. By 28th March, the full capacity of the historic buildings had been reached – with some 476 former soldiers of the British Army.

Since the 17th century, the Royal Hospital Chelsea has been the ever-present home of the Chelsea Pensioners, taking in veterans of all major campaigns including the Battle of Waterloo, the Crimean War, the two World Wars, all the way to more modern campaigns.

For a more in-depth look at the history of the Chelsea Pensioners, click here.

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HRH, The Prince Philip - Duke of Edinburgh Painting
Chelsea Pensioners share recollections of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Royal Hospital Chelsea community continues to send our thoughts and condolences to the Royal Family at this difficult time. Many of our Chelsea Pensioners were fortunate enough to meet HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Hospital’s Founder’s Day celebrations or through his other official duties.

Infirmary Bombing
Remembering the Soane Infirmary bombing

Today marks 80 years following the bombing of the Royal Hospital’s Infirmary during the Second World War. The magnificent Infirmary, which once stood on the current site of the National Army Museum, was hit by a parachute bomb on 16 April 1941 – destroying most of the building and tragically ending the lives of 13 people.

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