The Royal Hospital Chelsea has been celebrating the Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses ever since the first Chelsea Pensioners arrived back in 1692. It's a tradition that spans over three centuries! But this year was very different.

Although it is sadly not currently possible to welcome visitors to our grounds and garden, Grounds & Gardens Manager Ric Glenn gives you a glimpse behind our gates and updates you on the work his team has been doing during lockdown.

As we approach Armistice Day on 11th November, we share messages of remembrance from the Governor of the Royal Hospital and the Chelsea Pensioners attending the Cenotaph. 

Remembrance Day has always been a highlight in the Chelsea Pensioners’ year. Generally, they have a strong presence at the Cenotaph Remembrance Parade, the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and a host of events both in the UK and overseas. This year, Remembrance at the Royal Hospital will be very different – but no less heartfelt

We were delighted to welcome footballing legend David Beckham to the Royal Hospital for the launch of the annual Poppy Appeal, to remember those who have died fighting for the Nation. 

From its extravagant beginnings as part of the estate of the 1st Earl of Ranelagh, Richard Jones (1641-1712), to its fashionable pleasure gardens and impressive rotunda, Ranelagh Gardens at the Royal Hospital Chelsea have boasted a long and fascinating history. 

The Royal Hospital introduced its Breakfast Club before lockdown, but it’s really come into its own under the restrictions. 

When lockdown was first on the horizon, the Royal Hospital wanted to find activities that would keep the Pensioners interested and occupied, without putting them at risk. The Army drill of pace-sticking was suggested and not only has it proved extremely popular, the Chelsea Pensioner pace-stickers held their own against serving soldiers when they visited Sandhurst for the annual pace-sticking competition. Due to the exceptional circumstances this year, the usual international event was replaced by the first-ever tri-services contest.

World Mental Health Day is on October 10 and this year it feels more important than ever to recognise that it’s not just our physical health that’s important.  The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has had a huge impact on us all. And the Chelsea Pensioners are no exception.

Eighty years ago, Londoners were facing a crisis. A sustained bombing attack on the capital by the German army began on 7 September 1940 and continued until 11 May 1941. It became known as the Blitz – the German word for lightening. During the Blitz, almost 30,000 civilians were killed, 70,000 buildings were completely demolished and another 1.7 million were damaged.

Pages

Royal Hospital Chelsea Newsletter

Stay up to date with what's going on at The Royal Hospital by signing up for our e‑newsletter.

News

View the archive

Pensioners holding a Christmas wreath outside
Festive thoughts from the Chelsea Pensioners

Christmas is almost here and although life is still far from normal the Chelsea Pensioners are enjoying being part of our community at this special time. We are celebrating in many of the traditional ways at the Royal Hospital – while ensuring guidelines are followed and the Chelsea Pensioners stay as safe as possible. 

Stirring of the Christmas Pudding Ceremony 2021
Festive fun at the stirring of the Christmas Pudding ceremony

Chelsea Pensioners and staff gathered together in the Great Hall on the last day of November to usher in the start of Advent with the first of the Royal Hospital’s annual Christmas traditions. 

Twitter

Follow @RHChelsea