Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jun. 27, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill worked hard at being a good father to his only son, Randolph. But the two had a very strained relationship often marked by intense arguments and anger on both sides.

Churchill’s relationship with his grandson and namesake, born to Randolph and his first wife, Pamala Digby in October, 1940, was fun-filled, active, and warm.

The young Winston quickly developed an affection for his grandfather who he recalled in later years played trains with him on the floor and had a small trowel and mortaring kit made so he could lay bricks alongside his grandfather.

The younger Churchill also recalled in his autobirgraphaical Memories and Adventures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson ) a generous act by his grandfather and his response to it. At the time he was 20:

Before returning to Oxford I went to Stour to stay with my father, who told me that Grandpapa had made a settlement in my favour of the foreign rights to [his] History of the English-Speaking Peoples.. . .

I hastened to thank him for his generosity:
14 January 1961

Dear Grandpapa,

I returned from Switzerland today, and I am spending the night at Stour with Father before returning to Oxford tomorrow.

Father has told me of the handsome financial provision which you have made for me. It greatly exceeds any expectations I ever had and I am at a loss to find the right words to thank you.

I am so grateful for the mark of your trust which you have shown in giving me absolute control at the age of twenty-five of the money which you have settled on me, as for the money itself, and I shall endeavour to be worthy of your trust.

More than anything else, I am proud to bear your name and I will do my best to maintain its honour.

Your loving grandson,