April 4, 2017

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 04

By David Freeman, January 2017

Winston Churchill was surrounded by strong women all his life, from the day he was born until the day he died. This can easily be overlooked, given that his professional career took place at a time when politics was all but exclusively the realm of men. Yet Churchill absolutely required the nurturing, the example, and the strength of mind that the women in his life provided. In this issue we look at some of the key women in the life of the Greatest Briton.

Churchill’s story begins with his mother Jennie Jerome. Bright and beautiful, Jennie was frustratingly constrained by the conventions of her time. Anne Sebba examines how Jennie attempted to be an independent woman. Constrained himself as a child by the customs for raising the children of the well-to-do in Victorian Britain, Churchill received the attention he desperately needed from his beloved nanny. Katherine Barnett tells the story of the blessed Mrs. Everest.

As a young man, Churchill’s first efforts at finding a wife did not meet with success. In Pamela Plowden, however, he did find a lifelong friend, as Fred Glueckstein explains, and one who could still be counted on to support both Winston and Clementine during the darkest times, as Timothy Riley discovered.

The most important Churchill woman of them all, though, was of course Clementine née Hozier. How her remarkable marriage to Winston came to be is related by Sonia Purnell. Not surprisingly, two such strongwilled people had an equally strong-willed daughter. The recent opening of the Sarah Churchill Papers has enabled Catherine Katz to begin taking a fresh look at the child her parents nicknamed the “mule.”

The remarkable record on the distaff side of the Churchill line continued with his grandchildren. Edwina Sandys, an accomplished professional artist and sculptor, recalls a day spent at Chartwell last year that brought back beautiful memories of her experiences there as a child.

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Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, Churchill lived to serve as the first prime minister of Queen Elizabeth II. Roddy MacKenzie looks at the remarkable pairing of the aging premier and the last woman of great importance in his life.

Finally, beginning wtih this issue, Finest Hour will include a regular department in which objects or papers from the collection of the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri—or from other private collections—will be published and shared for the education and enjoyment of our readers.

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