Birthday: April 1, 1885
Died At Age: 92
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill
Born Country: England
Born in: Mayfair, London, England
Famous as: Winston Churchill's wife
Died on: December 12, 1977
place of death: Knightsbridge, London, England
City: London, England
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
education: Berkhamsted Girls School, University of Paris, Berkhamsted Boys School
Who was Clementine Churchill?
Clementine Churchill, or Baroness Spencer-Churchill, GBE, was a British noblewoman, humanitarian, life peer, and public figure, better known as the wife of Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. She had a disturbing childhood, which contributed to her strong personality. After marrying Winston, Clementine spent a lot of her time helping the munitions workers during World War I. She had served as the chairperson of the 'Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund' and the ‘Maternity Hospital for the Wives of Officers’ at Fulmer Chase. She had also served as the president of the 'Young Women's Christian Association War Time Appeal.' Clementine's philanthropical pursuits earned her several honorary titles, and she was ultimately bestowed with the honor of being a life peer after Winston's death. However, her final days were difficult due to a financial crisis, and she had to support herself by selling Winston's paintings.
Childhood & Early Life
Clementine Churchill was born Clementine Ogilvy Hozier, on April 1, 1885, in Mayfair, London, England, to British army officer and secretary of ‘Lloyd's of London,’ Sir Henry Hozier, and his wife, Lady Blanche Hozier, daughter of David Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie. Clementine grew up with her sisters, Kitty and Nellie.
Both Lady Blanche and Sir Henry had several extramarital affairs, which ultimately caused their divorce in 1891.
Many believed that Sir Henry was impotent and that Clementine Churchill and her siblings had been fathered by Lady Blanche's brother-in-law (sister's husband), Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale. However, she had claimed that Clementine's biological father was Captain William George "Bay" Middleton, a horseman and equerry to Earl Spencer.
Clementine Churchill was 14 when she and her family moved to Dieppe in northern France. Unfortunately, she and Nellie had to move to Scotland after Kitty contracted typhoid fever. Kitty died in 1900.
Clementine was initially homeschooled by a governess and then briefly attended the Edinburgh school of Karl Fröbel. She then attended the 'Berkhamsted School for Girls' (now 'Berkhamsted School') and the 'University of Paris.'
At 18, she had a clandestine affair with ‘British Army’ officer, barrister, and financier Sir Sidney Peel. She was engaged twice.
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Marriage to Winston Churchill
Clementine first met Winston Churchill at a ball in 1904. They were introduced by mutual friends. However, it was a casual encounter, and they met again after 4 years at Clementine's family dinner party.
They became friends and eventually began an affair. They corresponded through letters over the subsequent months and often met at social events.
Winston finally proposed to Clementine on August 11, 1908, at a house party at the ‘Temple of Diana’ summer house of 'Blenheim Palace.'
The two got married on September 12, 1908, at 'St. Margaret's, Westminster.' After a lavish honeymoon in Baveno, Venice, and the 'Veveří Castle' in Moravia, the newlywed couple settled at 33 Eccleston Square in London. They had a prosperous married life.
Clementine Churchill had five children: Diana (1909–1963), Randolph (1911–1968), Sarah (1914–1982), Marigold (1918–1921), and Mary (1922–2014).
Later Years & Death
Following Winston Churchill's death in 1965, Clementine Churchill was named a life peer as Baroness Spencer-Churchill of ‘Chartwell,’ Winston Churchill’s summer house located near Westerham in the County of Kent.
She was slowly growing deaf, which kept her from participating in political events.
In her final years, she faced a financial crisis due to inflation. Hence, she had to auction off five of her husband's paintings in 1977 to support herself.
Clementine Churchill died of a heart attack on December 12, 1977. She had been staying at her 7 Princes Gate home in Knightsbridge at the time of her death. She was survived by three of her five children.
She was buried beside her husband and children at the 'St Martin's Church,' Bladon, near Woodstock, in Oxfordshire.
A hospital in Harrow, Middlesex, has been named in Clementine Churchill's memory.
Her alma mater, the 'Berkhamsted Girls' School,' has installed a plaque bearing her name, at the Berkhamsted house where Clementine lived while studying at the school. Her youngest daughter, Baroness Soames, unveiled the plaque in 1979. A blue plaque, too, has been installed there, in memory of Clementine.
In biographer Sonia Purnell's first book, 'First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill,' she chronicled the incredible bond Clementine shared with Winston. Clementine was bold and highly opinionated, in contrast to what people generally thought of her. Clementine was also Winston's most trusted confidante. She was part of several crucial decisions that Winston had taken during the war and had the capacity to exert influence on him and the government.
All these qualities and humanitarian efforts earned Clementine tremendous respect not only in the political arena but in society in general.
In the 1930s, it was believed that Clementine Churchill had had an affair with a much-younger art dealer named Terence Philip while on a tour on Baron Moyne's yacht. It was also rumored that Philip was gay. However, none of the rumors was ever confirmed.
Reportedly, she left the trip midway, as Baron Moyne did nothing when one of his guests insulted her husband.
After Winston Churchill's death, it was revealed that Clementine had destroyed his famous portrait made by Graham Sutherland, because Winston had not liked it.