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British RoyalsCoronavirusPrince Charles and Camilla

The Duchess of Cornwall reviews Chelsea pensioners on parade

Royal Navy Media Archive

The Duchess of Cornwall last week paid a visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea to review the Chelsea Pensioners on Parade and to meet with staff members.

Camilla had been sent to visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea for Founders Day in June, however the pandemic prevented this from happening as the event had to be held without external guests, and she instead sent a video message of support.

The Founders Day Parade, according to Clarence House, “commemorates King Charles II’s founding of the Royal Chelsea Hospital in 1682,” and also marks the day in 1651 that King Charles II hid in an oak tree to avoid being captured by Parliamentary forces during the Battle of Worcester.

In 1682, King Charles II founded the Royal Hospital Chelsea to “give veterans a place to live after retiring from their duties and today the site is home to nearly 300 Chelsea Pensioners, both men and women, who are all former soldiers of the British Army,” according to Clarence House.

In a speech, the Duchess of Cornwall said: “I know that you have been through a particularly tough time of late, having lost ten Pensioners to COVID-19. I should like to express my heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who have died, and to each of you as you go through the painful process of adjusting to the gap left by those much-loved friends.

“Now you and your families also know more than most about the challenges and sacrifices of military duty. And you know, too, the extent to which we depend on our soldiers. This has been clearly demonstrated by two recent examples. Firstly, a few weeks ago, we marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a day which some of you might remember. We recalled with gratitude the great victory that our Armed Forces won for us. Then, in a very different context, we turned to a younger generation of Servicemen and women as the recent pandemic broke out. Proving themselves your worthy successors, they have helped to build hospitals, establish testing sites, repatriate our citizens, deliver PPE at home and abroad and develop a track and trace application to help combat the spread of the virus. And all the while continuing to assure our Defence at home and abroad.”

Camilla’s speech concluded: “In times of war and times of peace, whether seen or unseen, the Armed Forces support and strengthen our nation, just as each one of you Chelsea Pensioners did throughout your careers. I should like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for us.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are a source of inspiration, reassurance and pride to this country, and as a fellow pensioner I salute you all.”

Camilla also met with staff members at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and was introduced to several workers from the Health & Wellbeing Department. In a tweet, the Hospital wrote, “It was our absolute pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall to the Royal Hospital today, who met with Pensioners, staff and serving Army personnel. A great day was had by all – the Band of the Household Cavalry were fantastic and the weather held off too!”

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.