The Chelsea Pensioners

The Chelsea Pensioners are the iconic faces of the UK’s veteran community. They reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, their 326-year-old home founded by King Charles II in the heart of London.

Any former soldier of the British Army over the age of 65, who is facing spending their advanced years alone, can apply for residence at the Royal Hospital as a Chelsea Pensioner. For admissions criteria please click here.

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Grinling Gibbons statue of Charles II
The story behind the statue

On 3 August 2021 it will be 300 years since Grinling Gibbons’ death. Gibbons is celebrated as arguably the greatest decorative wood carver in British history. However, at the Royal Hospital we know him as the artist responsible for the striking gilded statue of our founder that stands in Figure Court – named in its honour. 

HRH Duke of Gloucester meeting Pensioner Tony Judge
Hope and happiness as Chelsea Pensioners celebrate the return of Founder’s Day

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. 

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