Finest Hour 129, Winter 2005-06
UK News – Wedding of the Year 1908
LONDON, SEPTEMBER 12TH— Ninety-seven years after Winston and Clementine Churchill held their wedding reception in 52 Portland Place, the Churchill Society of the UK commemorated the union with a dinner on the same spot—now the offices of Davis Coffer Lyons Leisure.
This significant London address was where Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier were re-introduced at a dinner party in March 1908. Four years previously they had met for the first time. Then, Winston had just stared transfixed at the beautiful Clemmie,; flustered, she had signalled a beau to rescue her from this uncomfortably disconcerting young Member of Parliament.
In 1908 Winston didn’t miss his chance, and engaged Clementine in conversation. Greatly taken with each other, they began keeping company. Winston proposed (Clementine thought he would never get around to it) at the Temple of Diana at Blenheim in the summer, and they were married in September. On the 12th, Clementine Hozier left 52 Portland Place (home of her great-aunt by marriage) for the church and and the couple returned there for the wedding reception.
On the 97th anniversary of the wedding, ICS(UK) member David Coffer, owner of the premises, munificently hosted an “Edwardian Dinner” in order to boost the profile of ICS UK’s educational project, with a view to attracting major donations.
Family members attending included Lady Soames, the Hon. Nicholas & Serena Soames, Randolph S. Churchill, Duncan Sandys and The Duke of Marlborough. Prominent political figures included Michael Howard (Leader of the Opposition) and Lord Baker of Dorking (as Kenneth Baker, a former Home Secretary). Also present as honorary member Robert Hardy, the actor who has so flawlessly played Churchill on so many occasions; and historian and ICS member Andrew Roberts.
Nicholas Soames MP introduced Conservative Party leader Michael Howard, who used the words of Roy Jenkins to pay tribute to “the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street.” In an evening so flush with Tory aristocracy, the Radio Times couldn’t resist noting, it was a little teasing of Andrew Roberts, “to point out in his speech—albeit obliquely— that the at the time of his wedding Churchill was a Liberal.”
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Recent Annual General Meetings have been held at a variety of Churchill sites, viz., the Cabinet War Rooms, Harrow, Blenheim, Chartwell, Bletchley Park and the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge. The 2006 AGM will, for the first time, take place at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Saturday 29th April.
It was at the Royal Military College (as Sandhurst was called until 1939) that young Winston was trained as a Gentleman Cadet in 1893-94, prior to his commissioning in 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. Details will be circulated later to UK members.