The Taxi Charity's Assistant Secretary and Press Officer, Derek Leone, shares his thoughts about this year's Founder's Day at Royal Hospital Chelsea.
In 1682, work started on the 66 acre site for the building of The Royal Hospital Chelsea. This was started by King Charles II for the soldiers who had been involved in the restoration of the King to the throne. Sir Christopher Wren designed the buildings on Louis XIV Hotel des Invalides, in Paris. The King sadly died in 1685. He was followed by his brother King James II who continued the development of the hospital. It was finally completed in the reign of William and Mary. The first In-pensioner moved in in 1692, complete with their scarlet coat which has survived to this day.
On Thursday 4 June 2015, Founder's Day was held. This is to remember when the King took refuge in an oak tree, in Founder's Court. The statue of King Charles II, which is gilded and depicted in a Roman toga, is decorated with oak leaves on the day.
Before the parade, we were entertained by the Band of the Welsh Guards under the direction of Music Lieutenant Colonel KFM Roberts MMusic FLCM FFCM LRSM psm.
The In-pensioners were formed up and at 11:00am His Royal Highness the Duke of York KG accompanied by The Governor, The Chief Executive Officer, the Quartermaster, Her Excellency the French Ambassador and the Mayor of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was received by a fanfare of The Trumpeters of The Scots Guards, Director of Music Major VL Yates LRSM.
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy and the French Government decided to award the Legion d' honneur to all the British veterans who took part in the Liberation of France. This is France's highest award. Her Excellency Sylvie Bermann presented the award to 19 In-pensioner veterans who fought on D-Day for the Liberation of France.
His Royal Highness addressed the Parade. The Govenor responded and called for three cheers for Our Pious Founder and called for three cheers for Her Majesty The Queen and three cheers for The Duke of York KG. The guards then turned inwards and a short fanfare was sounded, which was followed by The Piper In-Pensioner M Shanahan leading His Royal Highness through the parade to the Octagon. This ended an enjoyable day.