2022 Royal Hospital, Chelsea

The Royal Hospital in Chelsea is possibly the world’s most famous retirement home, where the Chelsea Pensioners live turning out for formal events in their well known scarlet (don’t call it red) jackets and black tricorn hats.

The hospital was founded by King Charles II and opened in 1692 to look after Army veterans who pay for their lodgings by surrendering their Army (not State) pension. The statue of King Charles II is covered in gold leaf and is the centre of attention on Founders Day when all the Pensioners wear sprigs of oak leaves as it is also Oak Apple Day which remembers the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 when King Charles II returned to England. The oak leaves are a reminder of how the future King Charles II escaped by hiding in an oak tree.

Founders Day at the Royal Hospital is held on the Saturday closest to 29th May.

Anyone can book tour tickets via Eventbrite.

Visited on 19-May-2022.

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