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HRH Prince Michael of Kent Reviews the Chelsea Pensioners at Founder’s Day 2018

HRH Prince Michael of Kent reviewed the Chelsea Pensioners today at Royal Hospital Road. The pensioners resplendent in their scarlet coats tapped their hands and feet to the music of the Coldstream Guards, and proudly smiled when introduced to his Highness. Also present were his wife, HRH Princess Michael of Kent and the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Cllr. Marie-Therese Rossi. In his replying speech, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE announced his pleasure at taking over as Governor of Royal Hospital Road.

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Radiant HRH The Princess Royal reviews Chelsea Pensioners at Founder’s Day Parade

HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the refurbished Wren designed ‘Long Wards’ whilst visiting Royal Hospital Road, home to the Chelsea Pensioners, at their recent annual Founder’s Day Parade. Dressed in pale blue and looking strikingly similar to the Queen at a young age, she enchanted the men in scarlet and showed her mother’s knack for sharing a quick joke with all she met. Sporting an Oak Leaf, symbolic of the tree King Charles II hid behind in order to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces in 1661 at the Battle of Worcester, ‘Oak Apple Day’ as Founder’s Day is also known, is held on a day closest to King Charles II birthday (29th May) and the date of his restoration as King in 1660.  Those attending the parade represented many of the British corps, rejiments and military charities of which HRH The Princess Royal is Colonel in Chief, Colonel or Patron.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott, www.lucyelliottphotography
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HRH Duke of Kent visits Royal Hospital Road to celebrate Founder’s Day

A beautiful day but tinged with sadness as many Pensioners were not present due to the Anniversary celebrations of D-Day at Normandy. However, those present looked radiant in their red coats. Prior to the service the Duke was shown around the new accommodation for the Pensioners and was impressed with the efforts made by many to establish the Royal Hospital as a beacon of excellence in the domain of care. The sun shone for most of the morning, making a particularly rather splendid appearance on cue for the National Anthem. At the end of the service as HRH Duke of Kent and other dignitaries walked back through the great oak doors, the bagpipes played. Everyone was still, with the bagpipes playing in the distance, quieter and quieter. Very moving. We were delighted to catch up with Joe Britten, their oldest resident who is 102 (and eight months)!

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com
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HRH Prince Michael of Kent unveils memorial to Colonel Carlos at Royal Hospital Road

Some 90 descendants of Colonel William Carlos attended this event, of all ages, together with representatives from Royal Hospital Road. Carlos was credited with saving King Charles II by hiding him in the Boscobel Oak whilst Cromwell’s army were searching for him. King Charles II is recognised as the founder of Royal Hospital Chelsea, when in 1681 he issued a Royal Warrant for its foundation. Each Founder’s Day, as it was today, the statue is covered with oak leaves to remind us of his escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The text of the King’s 1658 Grant of Arms to Colonel Carlos makes clear the King’s conviction that the Colonel’s actions at Boscobel were the main reason for his own, and thus the Royal Family’s, survival.

From an anthropological perspective it was lovely to see 90 people introducing each other to other parts of this extended family and find out exactly how they were related.  Congratulations must go to John Doble (descendant) who organised much of today’s event.

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To see more images from this event, please go to:  http://clients.lucyelliottphotography.com/v/photos/80298twf

Images and Copyright:  Lucy Elliott / Lucy Elliott Photography

 

 

Chelsea Pensioners celebrate the birth of the new Prince

After hearing the fantastic news about the Prince’s birth, we visited Royal Hospital Chelsea to join in the celebrations.

The Pensioners were excited about the news and proudly pointed out that twenty years from now, the Prince might Review them as part of their Founder’s Day tradition.

Dorothy Hughes (89), one of the first female Chelsea Pensioners, had some touching words to say about the happy event:

“I was so pleased to hear that Kate and William were allowed to have time to bond with the new baby.  A new mother feels so emotional.  First a sense of relief when labour is over.  Then exhaustion followed by anxiety of how you will cope with raising the child and adjusting to family life.  When my daughter was born 61 years ago, fathers were not allowed to see the baby until visiting hour, which was only 30 minutes.  I still remember the loneliness I felt.”

Later today ‘Charles’ the teddy bear resplendent in scarlet coat will be sent to the new Prince as a gift from Royal Hospital in a symbolic gesture reflecting the closeness the royal family have with the Pensioners.

Text:  Isere Lloyd-Davis

Image:  Lucy Elliott/Lucy Elliott Photography

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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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