Shining a Light On: Royal Hospital Chelsea
Last week should have been the Chelsea Flower Show. It is usually one of the busiest weeks in a florist's calendar, particularly for the summer months, as the Show is the beginning of a series of events and parties as well as marking the English flower season.
When we think of the Flower Show, we think of Royal Hospital Chelsea, the stunning 300-year-old home of the oh-so-lovely Chelsea Pensioners. Designed by none other than the OG of London architecture, Sir Christopher Wren, Royal Hospital Chelsea is known for its beauty and the fantastic work that they do.
Royal Hospital Chelsea is a Pinstripes' favourite, not only because we love chatting to a Pensioner every time we pop by, but because of the range of events and diverse clientele we get to work with there. We have designed exquisite florals for weddings, all-out-elaborate Chelsea Flower Show parties, Christmas balls, and have even transformed the Great Hall into an 'Under The Sea' themed fundraising dinner.
Missing the Chelsea Flower Show and Royal Hospital, we wanted to catch up with the lovely Emma Crunden, for a good old chin-wag and some hard-hitting, top journalist-style questions…
What is the best thing about working in RHC?
"There are so many! The Royal Hospital is such a unique place, and it's a real honour to be part of the community there, working alongside the Chelsea Pensioners in such historic and beautiful surroundings. I feel so lucky to come to work in a gorgeous Grade I & II listed heritage venue!"
We'd feel pretty lucky too – we adore the Flower Market, but it doesn't quite have the same grandeur with its constant cold air and only occasionally working lift. What do your clients always fall in love with at RHC on their first site visit?
"The Chelsea Pensioners! It always makes me smile to watch the delight on clients faces when they are greeted by a cheeky Chelsea Pensioner as we walk along the Colonnade. I think it really brings the spaces to life, and clients love the idea of inviting them along to their events in their iconic scarlet uniforms."
How can we blame them?! The Pensioners are irresistibly charming and such an institution in themselves – it's like spotting a celebrity!
We've worked many times in the Great Hall, Figure Court and the State Apartments – which other spaces do you wish clients used more?
"This is a tricky one. Either Wren House or Ranelagh Gardens. Wren House is our perfect little hidden gem! It's tucked away so feels very private, and the bright elegant rooms lend themselves to pretty brunches, lunches and birthday parties. On a larger scale, but equally as hidden, Ranelagh Gardens are a secret oasis in central London. We would love to see more weddings in springtime and late summer!"
We definitely agree – the wedding flowers for S&C last September were truly gorgeous and the photos of the lovely couple in the Ranelagh Gardens – just WOW! Particularly stunning at that time of year just when all the plants and trees were starting to fade into autumn.
Final question, and think as vast or intimate as you like here -what would be your dream event to do at RHC?
"It would definitely be a gorgeous garden party down in Ranelagh, with a beautiful stretch tent full of ornate rugs and furniture for guests to laze away on a sunny afternoon. P&P would fill the tent with gorgeous British flowers, and there would be live music, delicious seasonal food and plenty of champagne!"
We're sold! See you there!!
You can learn more about Royal Hospital Chelsea here and contact the wonderful team on RHCevents@chelsea-pensioners.org.uk
Peace Out & Flower Power,
Pinstripes & Peonies xx