Autumn 1962 (Age 88)

A prolonged recovery period from his fall during the summer “marked another definite stage in his slow decline.”

Because his mobility was impaired, alterations were made to the Hyde Park Gate residence. His office at No. 27 was converted into a bedroom, with bay windows looking out over the garden. An elevator was installed in No. 28 to permit access from the bedroom to the dining-room and the garden.

The events of the summer and autumn exerted considerable strain on Lady Churchill and friends rallied to her side. Violet Bonham Carter wrote: “It is though you alone could reach him with comfort and amusement. Your ‘private line’ with him has remained intact. Most people can be brave in short spasms – but the steadfast endurance of the ‘long haul’ is attained by few. You have had so many years of – sometimes intermittent, sometimes continuous anxiety and strain with never a let-up and now W. needs you and claims more from you than ever before . . .”

Lady Violet organized a group of friends to dine and play bezique with Sir Winston while Clementine had some time to herself or with her friends.

In October Sir Winston celebrated the completion of 60 years in politics, uninterrupted except for two years in the 1920s. Prime Minister Harold Macmdlan and Lord Mountbatten came to lunch.

Although Churchill’s deafness and decline contributed to an increasing number of silent meals at home, he did rally himself to dine with the Other Club in November. He is reported to have given an excellent off-the-cuff speech and did not leave until midnight.

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