The Massachusetts-born businessman and already renowned philanthropist George Peabody had moved to the United Kingdom in 1837. Along with his numerous gifts to open institutes in the United States, he had for years donated funds for the relief of London's poor, concentrating especially in providing decent housing. Just before one of his trips to his homeland in the spring of 1866, Queen Victoria recognised his charitable work in a personally signed letter. She wished that she could award him a royal decoration but knew as an American he would not accept and instead offered him a specially commissioned miniature portrait of herself in appreciation. Peabody, before he departed, accepted graciously, noting his gratitude for the financial success he had enjoyed over the past decades and saying that he had been happy to repay this in some way. He soon returned to London and died there in November 1869. Queen Victoria ordered his temporary interment in Westminster Abbey before his body was returned to his birthplace, by Royal Navy warship, for permanent burial. (By John Osborne)
George Peabody to Queen Victoria, London, England, April 3, 1866
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