A master of narrative fiction, Erik Larson is presently working on a new book about Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister, when Britain faced its gravest threat. The author is using newly available sources, including recently declassified files and personal diaries. Larson calls it “a kind of Downton on Downing.” To learn more about the tentatively titled The Splendid and the Vile, click on the link below to go to the publisher’s website.
It is often these behind-the-scenes accounts of those who work in the shadows, so to speak, that reveal the humanity of historic figures that is hard to find anywhere else. This account by Carole Sovocool, the grand-daughter of the head electrician at Buckingham Palace, is one of those accounts. Click on the link below to read her article.
In 2016 The Crown scored a huge hit for Netflix, with American actor John Lithgow playing Churchill at the end of his active political career. This year Brian Cox and Gary Oldman will both be seen in theatrical releases depicting the wartime prime minister.
Winston and Clementine wrote fondly to one another whenever they were apart. From time to time, they also wrote loving notes to each other while living in the same house. Here are a few highlights from their exchanges while courting, while Winston was in the trenches during World War I and during Winston’s ‘Wilderness Years,’ when he held no government position.
After courting for only four months, Winston proposed marriage on the picturesque grounds of Blenheim Palace. Clementine accepted and the next morning, before she departed, Winston had his footman deliver a handwritten note to Clementine’s room. The note suggested a romantic walk in the rose garden after breakfast.
Clementine did accept Winston’s offer to stroll among the roses after breakfast and she most likely ‘picked a bunch’ to bring home as a reminder of Winston’s love for her. She also returned home with the engagement letter for her mother. They were married one month later on September 12, 1908 in London at Saint Margaret’s Church.
In the Trenches, World War I
Even with a war raging on, Winston Churchill found time to corresponded with his wife. While in the trenches, he had some practical requests, like his hot-water bottle and his trench periscope, which he described as ‘most important.’ But it was obvious from his correspondence that Clementine was the most important person in his life:
The following correspondence was sent from the war front marked: “To be sent to Mrs. Churchill in the event of my death.”
During His Wilderness Years
Mary Somes, Winston and Clementine Churchill’s youngest daughter, compiled their letters in a 700+ page book titled Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills. This compilation offers a rare look at the ups and downs of their relationship and takes the reader on a journey through political and social events that covered most of the first half of the twentieth century. To say the least, it is a fascinating read.
There has been a bit of a controversy with the casting of John Lithgow, an American, in the role of Winston Churchill in the upcoming Netflix series, The Crown. But no matter what your feelings are in that regard, one must admit John Lithgow plays an outstanding Churchill. (See above video.)
Peter Morgan, the writer, cited “Churchill fatigue” within the British acting community for the decision to go with Lithgow. “There’s a point where every Knight of the Realm does his Winston Churchill,” Morgan said. Morgan credited casting director Nina Gold with the suggestion of Lithgow, who he described as “so startling and imaginative that it was an unanimous yes.”
Netflix will release the entire first series of The Crown this Friday, November 4.
John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in The Crown CREDIT: ALEX BAILEY/NETFLIX
John Lithgow plays Winston Churchill in a new Netflix original series, The Crown. Written by Peter Morgan (The Queen), the series follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 to the present day. The series is expected to span 60 episodes over 6 seasons, with Claire Foy playing the Queen in the early part of her reign. The Crown will be the most expensive show made by Netflix and the first to be filmed in the U.K.
The wait is over, Churchill’s Secret will premiere on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 8/7c. Starring Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan and Romola Garai. This is a one-night television event on Masterpiece, PBS.
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This stereoscope card is a photographic image of Churchill as a war correspondent during the Boer War. It was produced in 1900 by an American manufacturer, the Keystone View Company, as part of their Boer War images series. This stereoscope card is highly prized amongst Churchilliana collectors. It is one of the earliest career images of WSC. Also, while other cards from Keystone’s Boer War series are readily available on the open market, it is very difficult to obtain and seldom appears at auction.