The Duchess of Cornwall has sent a poignant letter to the Chelsea Pensioners as they mark Founder’s Day, the anniversary of the founding of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The Duchess of Cornwall urged the Chelsea Pensioners to rally their “strength, wisdom and endurance” to get through the Coronavirus crisis.
Founder’s Day is normally attended by a senior member of The Royal Family however due to the COVID-19 crisis, the planned event has had to be cancelled. In her letter, Camilla said, “The world as we know it has changed of late. This Founder’s Day is like no other, when we are, due to COVID-19, separated from one another. And it is, of course, a particularly poignant occasion as we think of our absent friends.”
Founder’s Day is the highlight of the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s calendar and celebrates the founding of the Royal Hospital by King Charles II. Founder’s Day, often referred to as Oak Apple Day, is held as close to 29th May as possible – this is the date of King Charles II’s birthday and his restoration to the Throne. The Oak reference is to commemorate King Charles II’s escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 when he hid in an oak tree to escape Parliamentarian forces.
Her Majesty The Queen has attended the Founder’s Day parade on four occasions throughout her reign.
In the letter, The Duchess of Cornwall continued, “Although sadly I am not with you in person, I know you are wearing your oak leaves with pride to remind us of your remarkable history. In these challenging times, we might do well to reflect on the traditional symbolism of the oak leaf, the oak represents strength, wisdom and endurance.”
The Duchess of Cornwall last attended the Founder’s Day parade in 2013.
Camilla concluded her letter by saying, “I look forward to seeing you all again, face-to-face hopefully, in the not too distant future, in the meantime, I salute you all and wish you a Happy Founder’s Day.”
Photo: Northern Ireland Office