The Headmaster of Harrow, the Rev. J.E.C. Welldon, promised to find a room for the boy “somewhere.” Although six generations of Marlboroughs had attended Eton, it was decided that Harrow-on-the-Hill would be a healthier environment for Winston after his recent bout of pneumonia. Winchester had also been considered but Winston was happy that Harrow had been selected because he anticipated that the entrance examination would be less demanding. He was also pleased that he would be near the top of his History class and his “Conduct Marks” were the best he had ever had.
Winston hoped that his parents would come down for his birthday, but Lord and Lady Randolph were busy preparing for a seven-week visit to Russia. This journey caused some anxiety in both Court and Cabinet circles. The Queen informed Lord Salisbury, “Think it of great importance that the Foreign Government and the country should know that Lord Randolph is going simply on a private journey in no way charged with any message or mission from the Government.” The Prime Minister assured Her Majesty that the “Charge d’Affaires at St. Petersburg has been instructed to let it be known that Lord R. Churchill does not represent opinions of either the Government or the country.”
Young Winston had his own concerns about his parents’ journey. Noting that he must now spend the holiday without them, he wrote that he would make the “Best of a bad job.”