April 1, 2023

Winston and Clementine Churchill at the Coronation of King George VI

Winston and Clementine Churchill attended their second coronation together on 12 May 1937. It was to have been the coronation of King Edward VIII, but the Abdication Crisis late the previous year resulted in George VI being crowned king. The crisis not only had harmed Winston politically, it led to disagreement with Clementine.

According to the Churchill’s daughter Mary, Winston had defended King Edward VIII and “felt that some arrangement could have been devised whereby the King could marry the [twice divorced] Mrs. Simpson, and the country be spared the convulsion of the crisis which would be caused by his abdication.”

“Clementine disagreed profoundly with Winston,” Mary continued, believing “that in no circumstances would Mrs. Simpson be acceptable to the British either as Queen Consort or even merely as the wife of the King.” Clementine proved to be the better judge of the situation.

During the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey of George VI, “at the moment when Queen Elizabeth was crowned as Consort after making vows of the utmost solemnity, and receiving tokens of grace for her special task, Winston turned to Clementine and, his eyes full of tears, said: ‘You were right; I see now the “other one” wouldn’t have done.’”

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This is the second in a three-part series looking at the Coronations which the Churchills attended. Last month was about the Coronation of King George V in 1911. Next month will be about the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Coronation of King Charles III is scheduled for 6 May.

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