Princess Diana greets the Chelsea Pensioners on June 10, 1983.
An annual celebration at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Founder’s Day commemorates the escape of the future King Charles II from parliamentary forces after the Battle of Worcester (1651) and is held as close as possible to this birthday on the 29th May. Founder’s Day is by invitation only.
Founders Day at Chelsea Hospital is held in early June in Figure Court seen above. King Charles II founded the hospital in the seventeenth century as a residential retirement home for old soldiers. Charles II’s birthday and his Restoration both fell on May 29th; the Parade used to be held annually on this date but has now moved to a variable date in early June. The Chelsea Pensioners always wear their distinctive red coats and royalty is always present. The oak leaves that are seen pinned to the Princess’ lapel below commemorate Charles II’s attempt to hide in an oak tree to escape his enemies.