Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London

A smartly-dressed Princess Anne stands out in a blue hat among a sea of red as she greets Chelsea Pensioners at the annual Founder’s Day parade in London
Anne, 68, took on the role of Reviewing Officer at the Royal Hospital today
The Princess Royal looked chic in a pale blue suit and netted hat
Parade takes place each year to mark the hospital’s founding in 1682
Anne also visited in 1972 – then aged just 21, 1985, and 2008

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London.

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London

The 65-year-old royal reprised the role of Reviewing Officer – one she last took on in 2008 – at the annual parade.

The Princess Royal was all set for the blazing sunshine in a pale blue brocade suit, which she paired with an elaborate four-tiered netted hat.

She completed the smart look with a pair of navy gloves, a small leather handbag and a set of pearls. She also wore a sprig of oak leaves on her jacket as is tradition.

The event, which marks the founding of the Royal Hospital in 1682 by King Charles II as a retreat for veterans, is traditionally held around May 29 – the monarch’s birthday.

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London

It is also known as Oak Apple Day, as it commemorates the escape of the future King after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he famously took refuge in the Royal Oak to avoid capture by Parliamentary forces – hence the sprig of oak worn by the pensioners and guests.

The idea of providing a hostel for the elderly – rather than the paying of pensions – was inspired by Les Invalides in Paris.

The pensioners traditionally wear their disctinctive scarlet coats and tricorne hats for ceremonial occasions like today – and greet the visiting royal with a salute. Some who were unable to stand rode past the royal in the mobility scooters.

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London

And it seems the residents couldn’t wait for the royal’s arrival – yesterday they tweeted a pictured from their official Twitter account @RHChelsea showing them preparing thousands of oak leaves.

They also tweeted their hopes that the rain would stay away, and it seems they were in luck as the ceremony took place to a backdrop of blue skies and blazing sunshine.

The parade is attended by a member of the royal family every year, with Anne’s sister the Queen visiting on four occasions. Last year’s special guest was Prince Andrew Duke of York.

Anne herself also attended in 1972 – then aged just 21 – as well as 1985 and 2008.

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London

Widower Gordon Sanders, a resident at the hospital, said: ‘Founder’s Day is very important because it’s the only day we can bring our relations into the hospital under a party atmosphere.

‘It’s the nearest thing we have to an open day.’

Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
Princess Anne stood out among a sea of red today as she met Chelsea Pensioners at the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital in London
PKT 230 - 14970 LP3D PRINCESS ROYAL JUNE 1972 PRINCESS ANNE REVIEWING IN-PENSIONERS ON FOUNDER'S DAY AT THE ROYAL HOSPITAL, CHELSEA.
PKT 230 – 14970
LP3D PRINCESS ROYAL
JUNE 1972
PRINCESS ANNE REVIEWING IN-PENSIONERS ON FOUNDER’S DAY AT THE ROYAL HOSPITAL, CHELSEA.

Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE