|Queen Victoria Inspecting Wounded Grenadier Guardsmen|
George Housman Thomas, 1855
The Royal Collection
She had prepared to make a speech—to offer the men and their families some words of encouragement to ease their suffering. However, she was so overcome upon seeing how badly the men had been wounded, that she found herself stumbling with her words. That night, she wrote in her journal, “‘It was a touching sight, & one could not see a finer set of men ... whom it made one’s heart bleed, to see so mutilated ... I had meant to make some kind of general speech, but I was so agitated, that it all stuck in my throat”
The event was recorded in this watercolor painting by George Housman Thomas who was a military artist for the Illustrated London News. The painting is also one of the first—if not the first—which shows Queen Victoria’s 1855 redecoration of parts of the palace.