Founders Day – Chelsea Pensioners

Today I was granted the honour of watching the Chelsea Pensioners Parade in front of HRH the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) at the home of the Chelsea PensionersRoyal Hospital Chelsea.


The Chelsea Pensioners in the sun waiting for the call to get on parade.

During the event I took many photographs which I thought I would like to share with you on this blog. Fortunately the Princess Royal was in attendance, no I did not get to see her, but as the Colonel-in-Chief of my former Regiment (The 14th/20th King’s Hussars/The King’s Royal Hussars) it is always a pleasure to see her, even if it is from a great distance.


Formed up and ready – immaculately dressed as always.

It took us about 2 hours to get to London (Raynes Park) from Portsmouth, we parked the car in a disabled bay for the 5 or so hours that we were in London. Took a train to Wimbledon and then the Underground to Sloans Park Station. Chelsea Hospital is about a 10 minute hobble from there.


The Mace being marched and Escorted onto the Parade.

A beautiful hot day at about 25C was just perfect for any day, but for this day I would say it was just perfect.


HRH The Princess Royal took the salute

The Royal Hospital Chelsea’s Founder’s Day, also known as Oak Apple Day, is always held on a date close to 29 May (In 2016 it was held on the 9th June) – the birthday of Charles II and the date of his restoration as King in 1660. The Oak reference commemorates the escape of the future King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester (1651) when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces, and is expressed through all Chelsea Pensioners wearing oak leaves on their famous scarlet uniforms. 


Talking to one of the Pensioners on Parade.

The gold statue of Charles II that stands in the centre of figure court is also adorned in oak leaves for the occasion. Over the years the statue oak leaf dressing has varied from a large wreath at the base to a wreath worn on the head, and from total covering where the statue is not even visible to a discreet skirt of oak branches around the base.


Marching past HRH the Princess Royal.

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Three Cheers

After the Parade the Pensioners relaxed meeting those that had watched their wonderful performance on the Parade. The average age of the pensioners this year was 82 years of age. Well done to them all.

Thank you for reading.

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