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Brooks, Vincent (1814-85)

Reading the Queen's letter, Scutari Hospital c.1855

RCIN 751018

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In December 1854 Queen Victoria wrote a moving letter to the governess of her children, Miss Hildyard, who was in touch with Florence Nightingale via the Herbert family. In her letter the Queen expressed her admiration for the wounded soldiers and asked for her sentiments to be passed on to those in hospital in Scutari: ‘no one takes a warmer interest, or feels more for their suffering, or admires their courage & heroism more than their Queen’. Although the letter was written privately, it was published in the press. The ‘Queen’s Letter’ was well received and was copied and distributed among the sick and wounded in Scutari hospital. 12 December 1854 31.5 x 19.7 cm Acquired by Queen Victoria RA/VIC/F1/77 Queen Victoria presented a specially designed brooch to Florence Nightingale as a reward for her work. This is a draft of the letter, written in Queen Victoria’s own hand, which accompanied the gift. The brooch itself, is now in the National Army Museum, ... I need / hardly repeat to you - how warm my admiration is for your Services wh. are / fully equal to those of my dear & brave Soldiers whose sufferings you have had / the privelege of alleviating in so merciful a manner. I am however anxious of / marking my feelings in a manner wh. I trust will be agreeable to you, - & / therefore send you with this letter a brooch the form & emblems of wh. / comme[mo]rate your great and blessed work - & wh. I hope you will wear as a / mark of the high approbation of your Sovereign!... RA/VIC/F4/1