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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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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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