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Wounded soldiers seen by Queen Victoria at Brompton Barracks, Chatham 1855-6

RCIN 2500160

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In 1855, when the first batch of wounded men returned from the Crimean War (1853-56), Queen Victoria invited a small group of them to Buckingham Palace. The sight of these 'mutilated' men so affected her that the speech of welcome she had prepared 'all stuck in my throat' and she had to excuse herself from it for fear of breaking down. Though such encounters were distressing, the Queen met as many of the wounded as possible and showed a personal interest in their recovery. Her frequent visits with Prince Albert to the military hospital at Chatham were immediately followed up by detailed reports from the medical staff on the health of the men they had seen. Also photographers were commissioned to take portraits of individuals or groups that had been of particular interest.