A speech by Prince Harry at Founder's Day, Royal Hospital Chelsea

Published 09 June 2011

The Royal Hospital - this world famous place - represents all that is great about our Country

Governor, In Pensioners, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with a great deal of pride, and a few nerves, that I stand here before you this morning.

Pride, in that as a junior Captain in the Army Air Corps, I consider it a huge privilege to be in the presence of so many years of extraordinary military service to our Country. Nerves - well - just because you have all achieved so much, and I feel that I am just at the start of my military career.

But never being particularly shy in coming forward there are a few things I would like to say.

First, it is an honour and a thrill to stand in these surroundings. The Royal Hospital - this world famous place - represents all that is great about our Country: beauty, tradition - and the wisdom that goes with it - selflessness and duty. 

But it is not just about history or these lovely buildings. The Royal Hospital has resonance far deeper than that for my generation, and for future generations of soldiers who - their duty done - will find sanctuary, happiness and peace here.

I do have some experience of soldiering. The comradeship that comes with it is one of the things I treasure most in life. The Army for me, and thousands like me, is a family. In that respect, for veterans coming here, it must be like coming home.   That is why this place matters, and always will.

The Governor has told me that the average age of the In-Pensioners on parade today is 82 and a half years old. I find it terrifying that your drill is so much better than my brothers’, but it doesn’t surprise me. I fully realise that afterwards, in my brother’s defence, I am going to be gripped, not by one, but by 216 Sergeant Majors, all at once! All I can say is that it will be an honour and a privilege. Thank you and Happy Founders Day!

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