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The Queen's cousin and his wife step out for special joint engagement in London

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are working royals

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester carried out a special joint engagement with the Chelsea Pensioners on Thursday.

The Queen's cousin, Prince Richard, and his wife, Birgitte, attended the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where the Duke was this year's Reviewing Officer.

The annual event celebrates the founding of the hospital in 1692 by King Charles II. It was the first in-person event since 2019, having been twice-postponed due to the pandemic.

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The Duke of Sussex was the last member of the royal family to have carried out the inspection of the Chelsea Pensioners in their scarlet coats.

Royal Hospital Chelsea provides residence, community and care to UK veterans, who face spending their elder years alone. 

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The Duke and Duches of Gloucester speaking with the Chelsea Pensioners

After the review, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester signed the official guest book before meeting members of staff who have supported the Chelsea Pensioners through a particularly challenging year.

While Prince Richard was dressed in military uniform, Birgitte opted for a dove-grey coat dress, a matching beret-style hat and a patterned face mask.

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The Duke of Gloucester was this year's Reviewing Officer

The couple also wore oak leaves in line with tradition. Founder's Day is also known as Oak Apple Day with the reference commerating the escape of the future King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces.

Prince Richard married Danish-born Birgitte Eva van Deurs Henriksen in July 1972. The couple have three children, Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, Lady Davina Windsor and Lady Rose Gilman.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are full-time working members of the royal family and carry out public duties.

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