A Royal Visit

23rd July 2020

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. The Founder's Day parade did go ahead, but without any invited guests and in a very limited capacity. Similarly, this Royal visit was limited in numbers to allow the Pensioners to be adequately distanced outside.  

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall met with staff, Pensioners and current serving Army personnel, taking time to speak with each in a socially distanced way and understand what life has been like at the Hospital during the pandemic. The visit started at our Infirmary where HRH met with the Governor, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw and Lady Bradshaw, followed by Infirmary staff and Pensioners. Her Royal Highness then adressed the Pensioners on parade in Figure Court, thanking them for their resilience in the face of this current pandemic. Remarks which were echoed by the Governor, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw. 

We captured a few moments from the visit, including an interview with our Governor - which you can watch below:

The Band of the Household Cavalry, resplendent in their gold 'state dress' uniforms, provided music for the parade treating the Pensioners with several rousing songs and even slipping in something a little more modern with a rendition of Tom Jones' classic 'It's not unusual'. As a surprise to Her Royal Highness, the band played 'happy birthday' and Pensioners and staff joined in in wishing The Duchess ahead of Her Royal Highness's birthday on 17 July. 

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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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