Clementine Ogilvy Spencer Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, GBE (née Hozier; 1 April 1885 – 12 December 1977) was the wife of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a life peer in her own right.
- Early Life and Family
- Marriage to Winston Churchill
- Wars and Between Wars
- Widowhood and Later Years
Officially, Clementine Churchill was the daughter of Sir Henry Hozier and his wife, Lady Blanche Hozier, who was a daughter of David Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie. However, Lady Blanche was infamous for her many affairs. She reportedly claimed that Churchill’s real father was Capt. William George "Bay" Middleton, a horseman and equerry to Earl Spencer, while others believe that Sir Henry was totally infertile and that all of her children were actually fathered by her brother-in-law Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, Baron Redesdale. Churchill’s parents divorced when she was six, in 1891, due in large part to both of their ongoing and numerous affairs. When she was fourteen, her mother moved the family to Dieppe, a town off the coast in northern France. Their idyllic time there was cut tragically short, though, within a year, when the eldest daughter, Kitty, fell ill with typhoid fever. Churchill and her sister Nellie were sent away to Scotland for their safety, and Kitty died in 1900....
In 1904, Clementine and Winston Churchill first met at a ball held by mutual acquaintances, the Earl and Countess of Crewe. It would be another four years before their paths crossed again, when they were seated next to each other at a dinner party held by a distant cousin of Clementine’s. They developed a rapport very quickly and continued seeing each other and corresponding over the next several months, and by August 1908, they were engaged. Only one month later, on September 12, 1908, the Churchills were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster. They took their honeymoon in Baveno, Venice, and Moravia, then returned home to settle down in London. Within a year, they welcomed their first child, their daughter Diana. In total, the couple had five children: Diana, Randolph, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary; all but Marigold survived to adulthood.
During World War I, Clementine Churchill organized canteens for munitions workers, working with the Young Men's Christian Association of the North East Metropolitan Area of London. This assistance to the war effort earned her an appointment as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1918. In the 1930s, Churchill spent some time traveling without her husband. She traveled on Baron Moyne’s yacht on an island cruise. There were rumors that she had an affair with a younger man, art dealer Terence Philip, but they were never confirmed; there were also rumors that Philip was gay. Her trip with the Moynes ended abruptly after an incident in which another guest insulted Winston and the Moynes failed to smooth things over. Winston Churchill became prime minister in 1940, as World War IIwas breaking out. During the war years, Clementine Churchill again took on roles in aid societies, now with a much higher profile as the wife of the prime minister. She was the chairman of the...
In 1965, Winston Churchilldied at the age of 90, leaving Clementine as a widow after 56 years of marriage. That year, she was created a life peer, with the title Baroness Spencer-Churchill, of Chartwell in the County of Kent. She remained independent from major party affiliations, but ultimately, her declining health (particularly hearing loss) prevented her from having much of a presence in Parliament. Her two oldest children both predeceased her: Diana in 1963, and Randolph in 1968. Churchill’s final years were marred by financial difficulties, and she had to sell some of her husband’s paintings. On December 12, 1977, Clementine Churchill died at age 92 after suffering a heart attack. She was buried alongside her husband and children at St. Martin's Church, Bladon in Oxfordshire.Blakemore, Erin. “Meet the Woman Behind Winston Churchill.” History, 5 December 2017, https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-woman-behind-winston-churchill.Purnell, Sonia. First Lady: The Private Wars of Clementine Churchill. Aurum Press Limited, 2015.Soames, Mary. Clementine Churchill. Doubleday, 2002.
- Assistant Editor
Clementine Churchill. Clementine Ogilvy Spencer Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, (née Hozier; 1 April 1885 – 12 December 1977) was the wife of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a life peer in her own right. While legally the daughter of Sir Henry Hozier, her mother’s known infidelity and his suspected ...
Clementine Churchill, wife of British politician and former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, showing members of the Churchill School Pipe Band from... Clementine Churchill , Baroness Spencer-Churchill, the widow of Sir Winston Churchill, is seen off by her daughter, actress Sarah Churchill , on the...
Dec 05, 2017 · Clementine Churchill’s life is little remembered, but she was a driving force behind the great statesman.
- Clementine Churchill was bold. Most assume that Winston Churchill’s wife would have been a rather mousy, even subservient woman in awe of her illustrious husband.
- She was far from the paradigm of an upper-class matron with a sense of entitlement. Both Clementine and Winston had suffered emotionally deprived childhoods, and their determination to weather together all that life threw at them was perhaps rooted in common feelings of insecurity.
- Clementine harboured a life-long, latent hostility to the Conservative party – even when her husband was its leader. She took particular exception to those she deemed brash, vulgar Tories, and would ‘erupt’ at them if they spouted views of which she strongly disapproved.
- Clementine was taller than Winston and considerably more athletic. She excelled at hunting, tennis and swimming. Her laugh – a full-throated cackle, said to be very infectious – was also much louder than his quiet chuckle.
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.