Diana Churchill Biography

Diana Churchill was a British officer and the oldest daughter of Winston Churchill. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family, personal life, death, etc.

Diana Churchill
Quick Facts

Birthday: July 11, 1909

Nationality: British

Famous: Family Members British Women

Died At Age: 54

Sun Sign: Cancer

Also Known As: Diana Spencer-Churchill

Born in: London

Famous as: Winston Churchill's Daughter

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Duncan Sandys (m. 1935 – div. 1960), John Milner Bailey (m. 1932 – div. 1935)

father: Winston Churchill

mother: Baroness Spencer-Churchill, Clementine Churchill

siblings: Marigold Churchill, Mary Soames, Randolph Churchill, Sarah Churchill

children: Celia Sandys, Edwina Sandys, Julian Sandys

Died on: October 20, 1963

place of death: London

City: London, England

Cause of Death: Drug Overdose

More Facts

education: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

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Diana Churchill was a British officer and the oldest daughter of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Sir Winston Churchill. She served the ‘Women’s Royal Naval Service’ during the ‘World War II.’ She was involved in many of her father’s election campaigns and even accompanied him to the Parliament, when he presented his first budget. She also took part in her brother Randolph Churchill’s political campaigns, including the campaign of 1935 where she met Duncan Sandys whom she would go on to marry. She suffered a nervous breakdown in 1953, which had a profound effect for the rest of her life. She died from an overdose of barbiturates in 1963. Investigations revealed that she had taken her own life. Her mortal remains were buried at ‘St Martin’s Church’ near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

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Diana Churchill
Childhood & Early Life
  • Diana Churchill was born Diana Spencer Churchill on July 11, 1909, in London, England, to Winston and Clementine Churchill. After seeing his daughter, a proud Winston Churchill claimed that she was the prettiest child he has ever seen.
  • After being homeschooled for a while, Diana enrolled at ‘Notting Hill High School’ as a day student where she would later be joined by her younger sister Sarah Churchill. After graduating from high school, she went to the ‘Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’ (RADA). Though she spent five terms at the academy, becoming an actress was never her intention.
  • Diana and her brother Randolph faced kidnap threats from a women’s militant group called ‘suffragettes,’ during their youth. Hence, they were often accompanied by detectives who wore plain clothes to conceal their identities. Diana enjoyed ice-skating and often accompanied her brother to ‘Holland Park’ where they practiced ice-skating.
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Career
  • Diana and her sister Sarah Churchill would often dress alike and accompany their parents during election campaigns. On April 28, 1925, she accompanied her father to Parliament, when he presented his first budget.
  • During the ‘Second World War,’ which took place from 1939 to 1945, she served the ‘Women’s Royal Naval Service’ as an officer. She also worked as a nurse when London was attacked by Germany during the war.
  • In 1955, she represented her father at Denmark’s tenth anniversary celebration of liberation from the clutches of the Nazis. During the ceremony, she addressed a large audience at the ‘Copenhagen University’ where she unveiled a bust of Sir Winston Churchill.
  • In 1962, she started working with a charity organization called ‘Samaritans’ which worked toward providing support to people in emotional distress. The organization was originally created to prevent suicide across the United Kingdom.
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Family & Personal Life
  • Diana Churchill’s father, Winston Churchill, was one of the most important British politicians who led Britain to victory in the ‘Second World War.’ He went on to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice in his political career. Diana was close to her father throughout her life and even accompanied him to southern France on a number of occasions as part of his political visits.
  • Her mother, Clementine, worked with the ‘Young Men’s Christian Association’ (YMCA) during the ‘First World War’ and organized canteens for munitions workers. She served as the President of ‘Young Women’s Christian Association’ and Chairman of the ‘Red Cross’ during the ‘Second World War.’
  • Diana Churchill had four siblings, namely Randolph, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary Soames. She was close to her brother Randolph and took part in his political campaigns. Randolph served as a Conservative Member of the British Parliament from 1940 to 1945. He also worked as a journalist and writer. While her younger sister Sarah established a career in the entertainment industry, her youngest sister Mary Soames worked with the ‘Red Cross’ before joining the ‘Auxiliary Territorial Service’ during the ‘Second World War.’
  • Diana Churchill married John Milner Bailey on December 12, 1932. John Milner Bailey was the son of a South African millionaire named Sir Abe Bailey. The wedding, which was a grand affair, took place at ‘St. Margaret’s Church’ in Westminster. However, Diana’s mother, Clementine, was not happy with the wedding and thus her relationship with Diana strained after the wedding.
  • Diana got separated from her husband barely a year after their wedding and their marriage ended in divorce in 1935. After divorcing John Milner Bailey, Diana lived alone in London and visited her parents in Kent during the weekends.
  • In the summer of 1935, Diana took part in a political campaign for her brother where she met Conservative politician Duncan Sandys. Diana and Duncan fell in love and got married on September 16, 1935. The couple was blessed with three children, namely Julian, Edwina, and Celia. Edwina, who was born on December 29, 1938, went on to become an artist and sculptor.
  • By 1957, Diana and Duncan had gone their separate ways. After their separation, Diana started living in a small house in London along with her daughters, Edwina and Celia. Her marriage with Duncan, which lasted for 25 years, ended in divorce in 1960.
  • After Duncan’s second marriage with Marie-Claire Schmitt in 1962, Diana announced that she would change her name back to Diana Churchill. Her name was legally changed on April 11, 1962. After her divorce, Diana’s relationship with her mother improved as she started visiting her mother quite frequently.
  • Starting from the early 1950s, Diana suffered from many nervous breakdowns. She was subjected to several forms of treatment, including ‘electroconvulsive therapy.’ She died from an overdose of barbiturates in October 1963. The investigation revealed that she had committed suicide. Ironically, she had joined the suicide-prevention organization ‘Samaritans’ just a year before taking her own life.
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How To Cite

Article Title
- Diana Churchill Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/diana-churchill-19522.php
Last Updated
- February 13, 2019

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