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90th Anniversary Talk on Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill

By Celia Lee

29 June 2011, Westerham Hall, Westerham, Kent

WHITE ROSES AND LILAC ORCHIDS – A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF JENNIE, LADY RANDOLPH CHURCHILL

I have divided the talk into 4 parts:

  1. The first part is about who Jennie really was; the three following parts concentrate on her voluntary work;
  2. Fund raising for the women of India;
  3. Fund raising and involvement with the hospital ship Maine during the Boer War;
  4. And her work during the First World War.

PART 1: JENNIE – WHO SHE REALLY WAS

Who, was Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill?

Her parents Leonard and Clarissa Jerome were American. (1)&(2) Clarissa’s maiden name was Hall, and they married in 1849. Both were from well to do farming backgrounds. Clarissa bore 4 daughters: (3) Clarita (known as Clara), who was born in April 1851; Jeanette (known as Jennie), born on 9th January 1854; Camille in November 1855, but died of a fever in 1863; and Leonie in 1859.

During the financial panic of 1857, Leonard Jerome became a millionaire, buying and selling shares on the New York stock market. He built a huge mansion, (4) on Madison Square, which was one of the first private palaces in New York. In 1860, Jennie was 6 years old, when the Jeromes went to live in this huge house, where she was raised in fabulous wealth and luxury. The ballroom could accommodate 300 people and the adjacent theatre could seat 600. Jennie and her sisters had a nanny and a governess, and were educated privately, with emphasis on the genteel arts — music, piano, drawing, and French and German. Their father owned racehorses, and Jennie and her sisters could ride like the wind. He was now reputed to be worth $10 million, about $500 million in today’s value.


For an article on Jennie’s birthplace in Brooklyn from Finest Hour 129, follow this link.


But Leonard had a passion for young opera singers and Mrs Jerome tired of her husband’s eccentric life style and his mistresses. In 1867, when Jennie was aged 13, the Jeromes separated, and Mrs Jerome took her three daughters (5) and went to live in Paris in further luxury, where they mingled with the court of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie.

In 1873, Jennie was 19 years old. (6) Mrs Jerome took a house the Villa Rosetta, for the season on the Isle of Wight. She received an invitation to a ball during “Cowes Week”, aboard the royal yacht, HMS Ariadne. It was held in the presence of the visiting, Russian, Imperial family, who were staying with Queen Victoria at Osborne House. The Prince of Wales attended, (7) and when Jennie entered the ballroom, attired in a white ball gown and diamonds, she saw Lord Randolph Churchill, (8) the second son of the 7th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, standing, talking to the Prince. (9)

Their eyes met across the ballroom floor and it was love at first sight. They were married on 15th April 1874, in the chapel of the British Embassy in Paris.

The young couple arrived from honeymoon to live for a brief period at Blenheim Palace, until Randolph’s father bought them a house in fashionable Mayfair, London. Jennie was now referred to as Lady Randolph Churchill.

The world that the 20-year-old entered in Victorian England, was one where aristocratic women were still a long way from liberation. Women wore full-length dresses or skirts, and a hat and gloves, and she was not allowed to go out in public without a chaperone.

Jennie was a beautiful, glamorous, and fashion conscious you woman. She had thick, black, wavy hair, a peaches and cream complexion, and large, magnetic, royal blue eyes that were grey at the centre. The modern equivalent today would be Catherine Middleton. Randolph and Jennie were the golden couple of the season and were invited to parties and balls and the homes of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Princess Alexandra and Jennie played the piano together.

French perfume was Jennie’s favourite. As you know, the aroma of scent remains in the mind, and ever evokes the memory of the person who wore it. When Jennie entered a room there was an atmosphere about her of a combination of beauty, fashion, wit, humour, and this alluring perfume. She was clever, and was fun to be with, and the life and soul of any party. Like Catherine Middleton, Jennie had a natural charisma. Viscount Edgar D’Abernon the British Ambassador to Berlin who saw her at a function in the Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, described her thus: (10)

Eyes were not turned on the Duke of Marlborough, standing on a raised dias but on a dark figure, radiant, translucent, intense; a diamond star in her hair, its lustre dimmed by the flashing glory of her eyes; her courage not less great than her husband’s – fit mother for descendants of the great Duke. Yet, with all these attributes of brilliancy, such kindliness and high spirits – she was universally popular. Her desire to please, her delight in life, and the genuine wish that all should share her joyous faith in it, made her the centre of a devoted circle. [Viscount Edgar D’Abernon; Ambassador to Berlin, Portraits and Appreciations; pub. Hodder & Stoughton 1931].

Jennie gave birth two two sons, Winston Leonard born at Blenheim Palace on 30th November 1874, and John Strange, born in Dublin on 4th February 1880. (11) & (12)

PART 2: JENNIE’S WORK for THE COUNTESS OF DUFFERIN FUND FOR THE WOMEN OF INDIA

We now move forward in time to the mid-1880s. In 1885, Lord Randolph Churchill became Secretary of State for India in Lord Salisbury’s Conservative, minority, government. It meant Randolph had to stand again for election as MP for Woodstock. Jennie’s first taste of public work was when she went out electioneering for Randolph and helped retain his seat. (13) Accompanied by his sister, Georgaina, the two women rode around the constituency in an open horse-drawn carriage, sporting Randolph’s racing colours pink and chocolate brown. There is a story that Jennie went into a butcher’s shop to ask for his vote. His wife shouted up the stairs: ‘Come on down, Lady Churchill is here’. And no, he didn’t reply: ‘Calm down dear, calm down’. Oh no! He balled down the stairs: ‘Tell Lady Churchill to go to hell’! But Jennie wasn’t deterred, and when he did come down, she was so charming and beautiful and so persuasive, he couldn’t refuse, and he pledged his vote for her husband.

Aristocratic women were limited in the areas in which they could volunteer to work and it was not acceptable to receive payment. Queen Victoria was Empress of India, and the Viceroy was Lord Dufferin. Missionaries had already established medical aid for Indian women, and Queen Victoria supported their cause. In 1885, Hariot, Lady Dufferin, who was Vicereine, set up the National Association for supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India.

The association recruited and trained women doctors, midwives, and nurses to improve the situation for Indian women in illness, and in childbearing, and it involved a great deal of fund-raising. Lord Randolph dealt directly with the Viceroy and the India office, and Jennie as his wife came into close contact with Hariot, and was invited to take part. Jennie later wrote:

India and things Indian loomed largely in my eyes that winter, and I acquired more knowledge of the country and its history than I had ever possessed before. I was called upon to help Lady Dufferin with the fund she was getting up in aid of the Women of India. Besides giving employment to numbers of English female doctors, it opened a career for native women, and alleviated some of the terrible sufferings of others.

The Lord Mayor held a meeting at the Mansion House, London, to raise funds on Jennie’s behalf.

In acknowledgement of her fundraising work, Queen Victoria sent for Jennie to come to Windsor Castle. The letter said: (14) (14A) The Queen wishes to personally confer the Insignia of the Order of the Crown of India on Lady Randolph Churchill on Friday next the 4th December 1885 at 3 o’clock.’ Jennie also received a note from the Queen’s Lady in Waiting, Jane Ely, advising her of the correct dress: ‘Bonnet and morning dress, and grey gloves’.

Jane Ely received Jennie in a small room, wherein stood the Queen in a long, white veil. Jennie courtesied to the Queen and kissed her hand and the Queen pinned the medal on her left shoulder.

The medal a miniature of which we have here was a pearl and turquoise cipher.

Next day, Jennie received a note from Jane Ely: ‘The Queen told me she thought you so handsome, and that it had all gone off so well.’ Queen Victoria remarked in her Journal: ‘Lady Randolph (an American) is very handsome and very dark.’

Lady Dufferin wrote to Jennie from Government House, Calcutta, January 4th 1886 to congratulate her on receiving the medal. She went on to describe the embryonic work that was taking place for the women of India:

The great Durbungha is going to build and keep up a dispensary’, and I have been asked to lay the foundation stone. Sir Walter de Souza has promised an annual subscription of 2,400 rupees for training women in Calcutta. Another dispensary had been set up in Bengal.

PART 3: JENNIE, and THE HOSPITAL SHIP THE MAINE-BOER WAR 1900

Now we move on to the end of 1899, and the beginning of 1900, and the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War in South Africa.

Fifteen years on, aristocratic women were still subject to the same rules where work was concerned. They could undertake unpaid voluntary administrative or nursing work. One woman, Florence Nightingale, had been a trendsetter, having gone against everything her social class dictated and become a nurse, and went to the Crimean War in October 1854 to care for injured soldiers. Florence got away with it by insisting that it was a calling from God.

Slide show was organized and put on the evening of the talk by Nigel Guest the Chairman of the Chartwell Branch, Westerham

Lord Randolph Churchill had been of a delicate disposition throughout the marriage. Jennie had some experience of nursing him through various illnesses, and he had died on 24th January 1895, aged only 46. Jennie was now engaged to be married to Lieutenant George Cornwallis-West who was the same age as Winston. (15)

The Boer War broke out in 1899, and Mrs Blow, the American wife of the manager of one of South Africa’s richest mining syndicates had an idea to provide a hospital ship to care for the wounded in South Africa. Jennie became Chairman of the United States Hospital Ship Fund. She worked enthusiastically during October and November, organising and raising funds for the trip.

The plan was to send to South Africa a suitable Hospital Ship, fully equipped with medical stores and provisions, and able to accommodate over 300 wounded soldiers, with a staff of 4 doctors, 5 nurses, and 40 commissioned officers and orderlies. To finance the venture $150,000 would be required. It was a tall order but soon money and medical supplies poured in. An American millionaire, Bernard Nadel Baker, founder of the Atlantic Transport Company in Baltimore, gave the British Government the use of one of his transport ships, the Maine. It had been used for transporting cattle, and had to be completely refitted, and Jennie enlisted the aid of the army. The committee had received £15,000 in donations, and Jennie organised a huge fund-raising event at Claridge’s in London. She had already decided to travel on the ship to Cape Town. Jennie’s fiancé, served with the Scots Guards, and Winston was a war correspondent with the South African Light Horse. The glamorous fund-raising event at Claridges, which should have been the highlight of Jennie’s efforts was marred, when the devastating news reached her that Winston had been captured and taken prisoner by the Boers. He soon made a dramatic escape and turned up safe and sound.

The Maine (16) left Portsmouth for Cape Town on Saturday 23rd December 1899. The refitting work was not complete and the tradesmen were still hard at it as the ship sailed away. Jennie was now working for the Royal Red Cross and was referred to as ‘Sister Jennie’, though she was not a trained nurse. Her younger son Jack, aged only 19, would soon follow to the war in January 1900. Colonel Hensman (17) was the officer in charge of the ship, and Major Julian M. Cabell of the US Army Medical Department was the senior American surgeon.

Miss Mary Eugenie Hibbard who had been in charge of the Grace Hospital and Nursing School in Detroit was the professional Superintendent of Nurses. Prior to leaving she had been presented to Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale now aged 90 who was staying with the Queen.

The ship was well equipped with an operating theatre and X-ray room, and several hospital wards, containing wooden beds, still in the making.

A photograph (18) of Jennie’s room on board shows it to be somewhat cramped with her bed in one corner. Just prior to leaving she received a telegram from her fiancé saying he had been invalided out of the army with a bad attack of sunstroke and was on his way home. Henceforth the letters that Jennie would receive from George would be of the order that his parents were trying to stop him marrying her. Jennie had other worries, her two sons would serve in Colonel Julian Byng’s regiment in the South African Light Horse, and would fight side by side. On 6th January, Jennie received a letter from Winston referring to the battle of Spion Kop:

‘There is a great battle – the greatest yet fought – impending here … . If I come through alive, I shall try to run down to Cape Town – or perhaps you will come to fetch the wounded from Durban.’

The Maine ran into a fierce storm, and there was a good deal of seasickness of which Jennie was a victim. On the final leg of the voyage they stopped to re-coal and take on fresh supplies at Las Palmas. Jennie had for a number of years been a confidant of the Prince of Wales and from there she wrote to him, January 19th 1900:

We had to “lay to” 48 hours, I never was so buffeted in my life.We are very top heavy, and owing to our large open gangways, we are most unfitted for high seas.

Referring to the weight distribution in the lower decks she continued:

I understand if we had slipped one or two we would have gone to the bottom.

The ship was in a mess following the battering it had taken and a major clear up operation was underway. There had been conflict throughout the voyage between the American and British staff, and Jennie had acted as peacemaker.

On 23rd January 1900, they sailed into Cape Town, where Jack was to have joined his mother. The scene in the harbour was typically one of war: ships full of troops who were disembarking, and streets filled with soldiers, but Jack was nowhere to be seen. The decision-making role of the Maine was then taken over by the Chief Medical Officer for Cape Town. He decided that they would proceed to Durban, fill the ship with wounded and return immediately to England. The function of the Maine was as a floating hospital ship, and Jennie was understandably annoyed. However, Jack arrived in uniform, wearing a large sombrero hat giving him the appearance of a cowboy, and the three Churchills had a brief reunion for two days.

Jennie used all her powers of persuasion to prevent the Maine being returned to England and got her way. Winston and Jack left (19) to join their regiment, the South African Light Horse.

Jennie and her staff prepared for the arrival of the wounded from Spion Kop, who were already on their way in wagons. All the nurses wore simple uniforms, a long white skirt and a short white jacket, a brassard, with Maine and the Red Cross embossed on it, and a white cap that peaked in the middle. Jennie was wearing a nurse’s uniform that she had designed herself, a starched white apron and white blouse, and an armband with a red cross. When on February 5th the first ambulance train arrived near the dock, Jennie and Miss Hibbard and the nursing staff were ready to take charge of them. There were 67 injured soldiers, of whom 12 were carried on stretchers, and the others were walking wounded. The Central News paper of Durban reported that: ‘Lady Randolph personally superintended their reception, directed berthing, and flitted among the injured as an angel of mercy’. Part of the reason so much prominence was given to Jennie in the press was due to Winston’s fame as a war hero. Jennie was an American and openly so, speaking with an American accent. The US was pro-Boer and anti-British, so Jennie was viewed as something of a heroine, flying in the face of her mother country.

In the days ahead, Jennie oversaw the administration of the hospital ship. She also spent much time comforting the wounded and helping them write letters home to their wives and sweethearts. She gave help with dressings or bandages, and anywhere she might be of use. True to her worst nightmare, Jack was wounded and brought on board on February 13th, the first officer casualty just 9 days after his 20th birthday. During a reconnaissance trip with Winston, they had taken shelter and Jack had been shot in the calf and it was a near thing, the bullet having passed close to his head. [My Early Life]. The wound would take a month to heal.

Another great battle towards the relief of Ladysmith would take place in a few days’ time, and Jennie must have gone through torments that Winston, who was so adventuresome and fearless, might get killed. Listening to Jack’s dramatic account of the fighting whilst he was on board the Maine only served to increase Jennie’s desire to visit the war zone. She wrote to Winston to this effect, and he got a few days leave and joined them, and they went to Chieveley. Also there, was Captain Percy Scott, the Commander of HMS Terrible, who had invented a gun carriage, which enabled the 4.7 naval gun to be taken up country to the front. Scott named the gun the Lady Randolph Churchill, and it was Jennie who historically fired the test round. With the support of Captain Scott, Jennie went to see the other hospitals at Chieveley Camp. Along the way, they passed the mangled, burnt out wreck of the armoured train from which Winston had been taken prisoner some weeks earlier, still lying on its side. A few yards away there was a makeshift graveyard where those who had been killed were buried.

The Maine was now almost filled with wounded soldiers, and Jennie and her team worked all day and were on duty throughout the night. Both British and Boer wounded men arrived in uniforms torn to shreds and covered in dirt from the field of battle. Twenty operations were performed in the theatre. Where a bullet was lodged a surgeon performed an operation, using ether as an anaesthetic and removed it. There would be three deaths: one from typhoid fever, one from an aneurysm; and one from tuberculosis. The nurses cleaned and dressed the wounds and administered what drugs were available to ease the pain, mostly morphine.

Jennie played the piano to concert standard, and she kept their spirits up by organising concerts so that the soldiers who were well enough could sing.

The Prince of Wales replied to Jennie’s letter on 16th February, congratulating her on her courageous work. Jennie replied, March 10th:

I am satisfied with the Mission the Maine has fulfilled – & if I may say so my connection with it. It has been hard work & sometimes the temptation has been great to fly off in a mail steamer for home – but I am glad I resisted.

On 29th March Jennie was dining with Captain Scott aboard HMS Terrible when the news broke of the relief of Ladysmith. The city of Durban went wild with excitement, and back home in London, crowds massed in the streets and sang ‘Soldiers of the Queen.’

When Jack recovered, he returned to his regiment, having been photographed for posterity with his mother. (20)

Winston reported in the press that during the two months the hospital ship was at Durban, more than 300 cases had been treated, and many difficult operations performed successfully. (21)

The Maine was laden with over 350 wounded soldiers being invalided out of the army, and they set sail for England. When they put in at Madeira for fresh supplies and water, Sergeant Grantham, the tuberculosis patient, died at midnight. Jennie had to organise his funeral at Funchal.

The Maine arrived back at Southampton in April 1900.

Jennie did not go out on the return voyage, but continued with her administrative work for the Maine at home. She was also planning her marriage to George Cornwallis-West. She was worrying a good deal about her two sons still in the fighting. On May 26th she wrote to Jack, and she wanted him as well as Winston home from the war:

I have been following Buller’s advance and have had some bad moments thinking of you but have trusted for the best and think you are capable of looking after your skin as well as most – I am glad to think the end is approaching and that the war must soon be over.

[This is how knowledgeable she was about the health and well being of soldiers]

I am also glad that you are moving, anything is better than stagnation in an unhealthy camp – How fit you must be as riding suits you – I am much more frightened of fever than of bullets so don’t be rash as regards water.

Winston seems to have had a narrow escape at Dewetsdorp from falling into the Boers’ hands; as an advance party met the enemy, Winston’s saddle turned and I understand his horse galloped away but luckily his own people turned back for him.

Jennie and George Cornwallis-West were married on 28th July 1900. Winston made it back on time for the wedding, but Jack remained in the fighting until October. That same month, Winston won his first parliamentary seat of Oldham.

Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901. Her son Edward, Prince of Wales succeeded her. In recognition of her services on the Maine, the King conferred upon Jennie the honour of “a Lady of Grace of St. John of Jerusalem” and the Order of the Royal Red Cross. Jennie had a seat in the King’s royal box at the coronation in August 1902, and was presented with the Coronation medal, a silver cameo.

PART 4: JENNIE’S WORK DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1914-18

We now move on some twelve years, to the outbreak of the First World War, August 4th 1914. King Edward VII had died in May 1910, and King George V and Queen Mary were on the throne.

Events in Jennie’s life had also moved on. Her second husband George Cornwallis-West had run off with the famous actress, Mrs Patrick Campbell, and Jennie had divorced him. But she had a new admirer, a wealthy, English, landowner, Montagu Porch, (22) who was working for the Foreign Office in Nigeria. Jennie’s two sons had both married in 1908, Jack to Lady Gwendeline Bertie (Goonie), (23) and Winston to Clementine Hozier (Clemmie). (24) The daughters-in-law called Jennie Belle-Mère (beautiful mother). Jack was a stockbroker and partner in the firm of Nelke Phillips in the City. Winston was an MP and First Lord of the Admiralty. When war was announced the two families were holidaying with their children in two cottages at Overstrand in Norfolk by the sea. Winston left to deal with urgent Admiralty business in London, and Jack left to join his yeomanry regiment, the Oxfordshire Hussars to prepare for active service in Europe. The buckets and spades were soon abandoned on the beach as Clemmie and Goonie returned home with their children. Two otherwise happy families would face a nightmarish four years of war.

Women were still not enfranchised despite the protests of the suffragettes, and aristocratic women could not undertake paid work.

Her first concern however was war work. Jennie persuaded the wealthy Mr Paris Singer of the famous sewing machine company to offer his residence, (25) Oldway House, Paignton, in Devon for use as a hospital. It was turned into a well-equipped, 255-bed hospital, which included an operating room. Throwing herself into raising money for the American Women’s War Relief Fund to finance the hospital, Jennie became Chairman of the Executive Committee, with Paris Singer as Vice-Chairman. There was a staff of 151, which included 8 surgeons, 15 American nursing Sisters, 17 English nursing Sisters, and 21 Probationers. Wounded soldiers were transported to the hospital in troop trains. Patient intake included, in 1915, New Zealanders and wounded men from the Royal Inniskillings, and the North Staffordshire Regiments; and in 1916, injured soldiers from the Somme offensive. By 1916, 3,203 cases had been admitted for treatment. The funds raised provided also, motor ambulances for the front, clothes for refugees, employment for women, and famine relief for Belgium.

Having formerly opposed votes for women, and on one occasion told suffragettes publicly that they ‘ought to be forcibly fed with common sense’, Jennie had matured politically, having been influenced by her daughters-in-law.

Clemmie and Goonie were both supporters of women’s rights and votes for women. In June 1916, Jennie was interviewed by a New York Times reporter on the subject of women and war work. She emphasised that women understood the values that were at stake. She said:

She saw the work and responsibility element of the war as advancing the position of women in society. It was aiding the suffrage movement and it would leave many women unwilling to return to ‘a sense of useless’. There had been, she said, a sea change in the attitude of the British Government to women’s war work. At the outset they had been reluctant to allow women to even set up canteens. But women had demonstrated their competence in many fields, which had brought about their general acceptance. She quoted as an example – a woman at Woolwich Arsenal who had taken charge of the motor pool. Jennie also stressed that she envisaged that this transformation in the role of women would guarantee them the vote after the war. She said: “Dozens of men who in the past opposed the idea agree with me upon this subject.” She concluded by saying she hoped that the war would bring about closer relations between Great Britain and the United States.(1)

Jennie also helped organise buffets at railroad stations for the thousands of travelling troops. Along with the famous opera singer, Maud, Lady Warrender, (26) she set out on a series of morale-boosting concerts around the country. They toured the army camps and hospitals, entertaining the troops, with Jennie playing the piano, and Maud singing.

Jennie also took up work for Lancaster Gate Hospital, (27) in London. She kept the wounded men cheerful, and wrote letters for them to their wives and sweethearts. She worked tirelessly there and raised funds, and was promoted to Head Matron.

Jennie’s two daughters-in-law were also engaged in war work. Jack’s wife, Goonie, who was mother to two small boys, Johnny and Peregrine, helped set up a 20-bed hospital for seriously injured officers, named All Saints’ Hospital, near Vauxhall Bridge, London. She also lived with her children part of the time at Blenheim Palace, (28) where the library had been converted by the Red Cross into a convalescent home for wounded officers, and Goonie helped there.

From the outset of the war there had been a shell shortage, and a Ministry of Munitions had been created, headed by David Lloyd George. Most of the able bodied male population were away fighting the war, and there was a shortage of men to work in the munitions factories. Women therefore had to take their places, and the factories operated a 24-hour shift, making shells and ammunition. The work force had to be fed, which meant canteens had to be maintained on the premises 24 hours a day. The YMCA formed a Munitions Workers’ Auxiliary Committee in June 1915, and Winston’s wife Clemmie who was mother of three small children, Diana, Randolph, and Sarah, joined the committee. (29) She became responsible for opening, staffing, and running nine canteens in the north and north-eastern metropolitan area of London, each one providing meals for up to 500 workers. She enlisted 90 volunteer unpaid helpers, and liased with factory managers in a hostile environment of men who thought women were taking away their jobs. (4)

DEATH OF JENNIE

Jennie married for the third time, Montagu Porch, on June 1st 1918.

Women over the age of 30 were finally granted the vote at the end of the war in 1918, but women over the age of 21 were not enfranchised until 1928.

In May 1921, she went to spend the weekend with a friend, Frances, Lady Horner at Mells Manor, Somerset. She heard the dinner gong and fearing she might be late, rushed down the stairs and tripped and fell and broke her ankle. A local doctor set it, and Jennie returned home to London in an ambulance. A nurse cared for her but gangrene set in, and a London surgeon amputated her leg. Jennie was very brave, and told him to ‘be sure and cut high enough’. Convalescing at home, she suffered a sudden haemorrhage on the morning of this day, 90 years ago, 29th June. She slipped into unconsciousness from which she never awoke. Winston and Jack and other family members and friends remained by her bedside as she slipped away.

The New York Times obituary summed up her life:

Jennie was destined to play a brilliant, and almost unchallenged – a prominent and influential part – in London court and political life for a generation.

Winston and Jack so loved their mother that they lined her grave (30) & (31) at St. Martin’s, Bladon with her favourite flowers, white roses and lilac orchids.

When Jennie’s personal things were being sorted out, fourteen pairs of evening gloves were found in her gloves cabinet. Goonie said that they still smelt of dear Belle-Mère’s favourite perfume, Chanel No.5.


Notes: (1) (2) (3) From the private papers of Mrs. Peregrine Spencer-Churchill with her kind permission. Jennie’s letters to HRH The Prince of Wales are housed at the Royal Archives Windsor Castle, copyright, the late Yvonne Spencer-Churchill.

Details of Leonard Jerome’s wealth from the New York Times.
(4) Mary Soames Clementine Churchill pub. Doubleday 2002 p.148.
(5) John Spencer Churchill Crowded Canvas pub. Odhams Press 1961 pp.32-3.
(6) Celia Lee Jean, Lady Hamilton 1861-1941 A Soldier’s Wife pp.198-9.


Celia Lee and her husband John Lee are the Author’s of Winston & Jack, The Churchill Brothers.

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