“331 years ago this great institution was opened to be a home to old or disabled soldiers but surveying your resplendent scarlet ranks I can only see evidence of soldiers,” the Duchess said to Chelsea pensioners during the annual Founder’s Day Parade, commemorating the founding of the Royal Chelsea Hospital by King Charles II in 1682.
In the speech, a transcript of which can be found in the Prince of Wales’ website, the Duchess spoke of feeling honored to review the parade as a “proud daughter of a highly decorated soldier.” She made special mention of the 111 World War II veterans residing in the hospital, “some perhaps [fought] alongside my father in North Africa.”
The Prince of Wales’ second wife and daughter of British Army officer ,Bruce Shand, spoke of being “delighted that the future of the Royal Hospital is secure for those who are currently serving” after seeing the hospital facilities and the ongoing renovations.
During the visit, the Duchess gave a 94-year old war veteran, John Ley, a bottle of Highgrove gin. While in his room, she noticed a picture of Ley with Prince Harry taken during the 2011 parade, where the Prince was famously asked when he will get married.