April 12, 2017

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 38

A Note, or Two Notes, to Pamela Plowden

Following the tragic death of their two-year-old daughter Marigold in 1921, Winston and Clementine Churchill received numerous letters of sympathy. One letter of condolence arrived from Pamela Plowden (see p. 15), to whom Winston had proposed marriage in 1899. She refused him, instead marrying Victor, Earl of Lytton, thereby herself becoming the Countess of Lytton.

Upon receipt of the letter from Pamela, Churchill replied to his first great love with this hand-written note:

Thank you so much my dear for yr kind letter. It is indeed sad & cruel to lose our beautiful baby. We had high hopes of her as she showed so much character as well as the charm of early morning. One must hope that there will be fruition elsewhere, & that it is really true that ‘whom the Gods love well die young’.
Yours affectionately

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At the National Churchill Museum, Director and Chief Curator Timothy Riley recently discovered a previously unknown second note, which was still inside the original envelope. The handwritten message—instructions for a telegram—is from Clementine Churchill. It reads:

Thank you dear Pamela for your sweet note of sympathy.
Clementine Churchill

Letter from Churchill to Pamela Plowden
Letter from Churchill to Pamela Plowden


Envelope housing Churchill’s letter
Envelope housing Churchill’s letter


Instructions for a telegram to Pamela from Clementine
Instructions for a telegram to Pamela from Clementine


Both Churchills were deeply moved by the tragic loss of Marigold, called the “Duckadilly” by the family.

The National Churchill Museum

Located in Fulton, Missouri, the National Churchill Museum (NCM) at Westminster College is a multifaceted historical site that contains a seventeenth-century church designed by Sir Christopher Wren (the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury) and a museum dedicated to the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. The Church of St. Mary was transported from London to Westminster College campus in the 1960s to commemorate Churchill’s visit to the college in 1946, where he delivered one of the most significant speeches of the twentieth century, to which he gave the title “The Sinews of Peace,” but which is more commonly referred to as the “Iron Curtain” speech.

In 2009 the Museum was designated by Congress as the National Churchill Museum of the United States. Today, the museum houses interactive exhibits and significant collections related to Churchill’s life and legacy. Since Churchill’s death in 1965 and the establishment of the museum in 1969, NCM has amassed more than 10,000 objects for its permanent collection and archive. In 2016 NCM formally allied with the International Churchill Society.

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