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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall reviews the Chelsea Pensions at their Founder’s Day

The 321st Founder’s Day at Royal Hospital Road was held on the best of a British day; clear blue skies and sunny. The Chelsea Pensioners looked stunning with their scarlet coats and decorations blazed in the sun’s reflection.

This year the Reviewing Officer was HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Looking radiant in her acquamarine coloured coat dress and matching hat she was clearly at ease talking to the Pensioners and hospital staff at the infirmary and the 176 Pensioners present at the ceremony ‘on the Green’. One Pensioner, upon seeing the photographers’ camera equipment, remarked that he hoped the gear worked. The Duchess, very much at ease, and chatting easily with those presented to her, seemed to genuinely enjoy the occasion, made more relevant by the fact some of those present had likely served with her father in Africa.

The ceremony lasted an hour – a long time for those attending whose average age is 82 and who had to stand throughout. All in all a wonderful and very British Occasion.

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Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/Lucy Elliott Photography

(Lucy attended this event as part of the Royal Rota – with thanks to the Royal Press Office, Clarence House).

 

Prince Edward pulls a pint at The Churchill Arms

HRH Prince Edward visited The Churchill Arms in Kensington Church St. as part of his tour as Patron of The Garden Society. Accompanied by the Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Christopher Buckmaster and Ann Hobson, the Prince admired the florally decorated pub and congratulated Reyes Diaz of City Plant Displays Ltd on his handiwork. The Landlord, Gerry rightly proud of his business has been asked by The Garden Society not to enter his pub for the annual award in order to let others have a chance to win!
The Prince was then shown inside and gamely pulled a pint, noting that in her time, his Grandmother had also pulled a pint or two. Gerry explained that the back of the pub, when he first took over the pub some 25 years ago was a garage, and is now a very successful and well known Thai Restaurant. The Prince met members of the Thai family who operate the restaurant and received a basket of vegetables from the Mayor on behalf of local schoolchildren. The Prince appeared to be enjoying himself tremendously and certainly for those visiting the pub, residents and locals his visit cheered up a rather wet and soggy afternoon.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott – The Kensington Magazine
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HRH The Countess of Wessex Reviews the Chelsea Pensions at their Founder’s Day

HRH The Countess of Wessex reviewed 283 In-Pensioners at the Royal Hospital on Thursday. Clearly enjoying herself she spoke to many of those being reviewed, including Joe Britton who is approaching 101. The Hospital apparently has one of the “best Clubs” in Britain, provides support and respite to soldiers injured from fighting in Afghanistan, and throughout the year holds social events such as lectures, drinks parties and an annual carol service in the Wren chapel. It is well known that those lucky enough to live at Royal Hospital Road enjoy a full and active life with life expectancy of more than ten years of those living on their own. The ‘Scarlet Coats’ are very well recognised and honoured throughout the UK, with even one of the budget airlines giving them excellent and preferential service! The rain held off until the end of the ceremony when attendees (including those in Scarlet Coats) moved extremely fast to undercover  provided by the marquees to continue celebrating this very special day for them.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine
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Celebrating Influential Women with the Mayor of RBKC and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

An inspirational reception held at the Town Hall by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea Councillor Julie Mills, with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in attendance. A room full of women at the top of their professions – professions represented being eclectic; philanthropy, armed forces, retail, government, entertainment, legal and medical with many High Commissioners or Ambassadors representing the Commonwealth. This was particularly relevant since the event was being held on Commonwealth Day. An informal approach to the event enabled everyone to ‘network’ together and it was a privilege for all to meet the Duchess who was particularly interested in meeting those representing parts of the Commonwealth she had visited.

 ‘HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (centre) with the wife of the Lieutenant Governor of the Royal Hospital Angela Currie (blue); Chelsea in-pensioners and the Royal Borough’s Mayor Cllr Julie Mills.’

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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits Trinity Hospice Charity Shops in Kensington Church Street, W8


The Duchess of Cornwall visiting Trinity Hospice caused great excitement amongst the staff and volunteers. Clothes for sale were arranged and re-arranged, the floor swept, hoovered and swept again. Now they were ready.

At precisely 6.00 p.m a chauffeur driven car arrived flanked by motorcycles. Accompanied by Protection Officers she entered the Trinity House Book Shop, managed by Paul Claxton. Immediately it became very clear that she has two key skills – within a very short space of time she can put someone at ease and engage in good ‘small talk’. Paul showed her around the shop, decorated with old record covers, old magazine front covers and general ‘past ages’ paraphernalia. The shop has some wonderful first or signed editions and should be the first place for enthusiastic book lovers to visit. If you have children do please come along since it’s a genuinely child friendly book shop selling not only children’s books but also toys – and there’s a squidgy sofa too to make them feel at home.

Camilla surprised everyone by suddenly producing a bag full of books for Paul to sell in the shop, causing interjections from those watching with “Oh I’ve read that”, and “Oh I’ve got that” – no doubt, bearing in mind from whence they came, these books will go for a premium in the shop.

Next stop was the Trinity Hospice Clothing shop – designer clothes, pashmina and cashmere scarves, men’s new shirts and evening dresses can be found here. Debbie Woodall the Manageress showed The Duchess around and introduced her to staff and volunteers. The introductions very quickly became relaxed and informal “And this is so and so, she/he works on a Tuesday” “Ah so you’re a Tuesday girl”. And to the next person, “… and are you a Wednesday person then?” and so on.

Having had a good look round she noticed two celebration mugs marking her marriage to Prince Charles – unusual and rather collectible since two cups had to be issued due to the Pope’s death on the original choice of wedding date. Hence two china mugs for the same occasion, just different dates.

Just as she was leaving she spied some special Trinity Hospice bears. Immediately picking one up she declared she must have five for her grandchildren. Sadly there were only four available, but she gamely declared that one would have to go without. And more gamely, the Lady in Waiting paid for them!

Trinity Hospice is a wonderful charity which gives care to people with advanced illnesses within their own homes or at a hospice. They currently look after about 750,000 people across London. The Duchess of Cornwall is their Patron.

If you would like to support Trinity, please donate your books, records, clothes or toys to the shops in Kensington Church St. To learn more about this charity please see www.trinityhospice.org.uk

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine
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Prince Harry Reviews the Chelsea Pensioners’ Founders Day – June 9th

This morning HRH Prince Harry, looking splendid in his Household Cavalry Blues and Royals uniform, admitted to being somewhat nervous as he inspected the Chelsea Pensioners at their annual Founders Day Parade. The In-Pensioners enjoyed his visit and the Prince smiling away seemed to be most at ease with them. One Chelsea Pensioner, Joe Britton has been at Royal Hospital Road for 17 years and will be 100 in October, had a long chat with him. (We also had a chat with Joe but we don’t expect he told Harry that he was on ‘Deal or No Deal’ in 1997 and won £20,000). Prince Harry is the first serving officer to review the event since HRH The Duke of Kent did so in 1974.

Those Pensioners, who were able, marched past Prince Harry, saluting with the hand furthest away from His Royal Highness – a custom dating back to when knights in armour saluted by lifting their visors to show their identity with whichever hand did not hide their face. The average age of those filing past Prince Harry was 82 – a fact that did not escape him as he commented that he was impressed to see they marched better in rank that his brother did!

Images: Lucy Elliott

Copyright: The Kensington Magazine

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Pensioners reviewed by HRH The Duke of Gloucester

On another bright and glorious summer’s day in London, HRH The Duke of Gloucester inspected the Chelsea Pensioners who marched past resplendent in their red and black uniform, buttons and boots gleaming and shining. For the 300 soldiers this is the highlight of the year – a known fact that living there, increases life span by about a further ten years, such is the congeniality of the environment.

In addition to the March past, the Duke of Gloucester was also there to open the first of the modern study bedrooms the soldiers will live in. Until now, accommodation has been windowless, nine foot square ‘berths’.  With new accommodation perhaps their life span might increase to 15 years longer than their counter parts in ‘civvie’ land?!  (Photos by kind courtesy of Lawson Dodd)

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