The Princess Royal attends the 2024 Founder’s Day

The event coincided with the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings

Yesterday, The Princess Royal visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea to attend its Founders Day.

The annual event is a staple in the hospital’s calendar, attended by all the Chelsea Pensioners, to celebrate the founding of the hospital by Charles II. The event has taken place almost every year since its opening in 1692 as a veterans’ retirement and nursing home, and it is tradition the Pensioners are reviewed by a member of the Royal Family.

The Princess speaking to the Chelsea Pensioners. (The Chelsea Pensioners/Twitter)

Addressing the Chelsea Pensioners and their families, Princess Anne noted how it was a ‘pleasure’ to be in their company once again and apologised for her absence, but was pleased to hear that her stand in – her husband – had upheld that standards that the Royal Hospital expects, despite being a sailor; the comment received laughs from the crowds.

Anne reflected on her and Tim’s visit to Normandy the previous day, during which they attended events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. They ‘remembered the sacrifice of so many of those sailor soldiers and aviators which started that road to freedom on the 6th of June 1944 and we also remembered the civilians in Normandy’.

The Princess added how it was in the context of the anniversary of D-Day that she was at the Royal Hospital, including being in the presence of one D-Day veteran/Chelsea Pensioner.

Anne attended the 2024 Founder’s Day. (The Chelsea Pensioners/Twitter)

Each year for Founder’s Day, Chelsea Pensioners gather in the Hospital’s Figure Court, dressed in their scarlet coats adorned with oak leaves. The annual day is also known as Oak Apple Day, in which the oak leaves symbolises the famous tale of Charles II’s escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he hid in an oak tree to evade capture in Shropshire.

The renowned gold statue of King Charles II is decorated with oak leaves alongside the Chelsea Pensioners uniform as a tribute to the tale.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Her Royal Highness also thanked the Chelsea Pensioners for ‘continuing to represent our nation so proudly at the countless commemorations celebrations and other events throughout the year that you are invited to and volunteer for’ and was especially pleased to see their pride in their scarlet uniforms that ‘brings the inspiration and pride to others’.

Anne noted that the Chelsea Pensioners as a group ‘represent a huge collective memory of experience and understanding’.

At the end of the parade, a contingent of Chelsea Pensioners who served during the Second World War marched past The Princess Royal who was the Reviewing Officer for the occasion. They were also thanked for their service by the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea who was also in attendance.

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