Royal Hospital Chelsea Founders Day 2023

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Photographer: Sgt Jimmy Wise - Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

This year’s Royal Hospital Chelsea Founders Day was graced by the distinguished presence of the King of the Belgians, accompanied by his wife, Queen Mathilde.

It was a day of commemoration, of reflection, and most importantly, of celebration.

As the day’s Guest of Honour, the King of Belgium was invited to review the parade of Chelsea Pensioners.

Photographer: Sgt Jimmy Wise – Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

King Philippe delivered a touching speech reflecting on the common history of the United Kingdom and Belgium, and the deep ties that bind the royal families of both nations. He traced his lineage back to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who married Princess Charlotte of Wales and was set to become Prince Consort of the United Kingdom in 1816.

The Chelsea Pensioners stood tall and proud in their bright scarlet uniforms, representing the resilient spirit of the British army. Photographer: Sgt Jimmy Wise – Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

Bringing the audience closer to modern history, the King eloquently acknowledged the sacrifices of British soldiers who came to Belgium’s aid during the First World War.

The King did not forget to honour those who are no longer with us, soldiers who traversed the demanding path of the military. He expressed eternal gratitude to the brave countrymen who liberated Belgium from the Nazi yoke during the Second World War. 

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