Friday, December 07, 2007

The Churchill Series – Dec. 7, 2007

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

The relationship between Churchill and Charles de Gaulle was complex to say the least; and I won’t “go there” today.

But I will share with you the following from the Library of Congress online interactive site developed as part of the library’s Churchill and America exhibit examining “Churchill’s life-long relationship with the United States of America – the nation he called ‘the Great Republic.’”

Charles de Gaulle, the Free French leader with whom Churchill often found it difficult to work, was nonetheless an admirer of the British Prime Minister. With this cover letter to Churchill's daughter-in-law, Pamela, de Gaulle gave a book of drawings to her one-year-old son, Winston S. Churchill.

De Gaulle expressed the wish that in the future the young Churchill would think of the gift's donor as a "sincere admirer of his grandfather" and Britain's faithful ally in the greatest war in history.
Here’s de Gaulle’s letter to the grandchild's mother:
Dear Madame:

I permit myself to send you an old book of pictures of Marlborough for your son Winston. It is about the only thing I brought with me from France.

When the young Winston Churchill later looks at these Caran d'Ache sketches he will possibly think about a French general who was, in history's greatest war, the sincere admirer of his grandfather and the loyal ally of his country.

Kindly accept, dear Madame, my very respectful regards.
The marriage of Churchill’s only son Randolph ended in divorce in 1946.

Churchill and Clementine maintained good relations with their grandson’s mother, Pamala Digby, who later became a naturalized American citizen. She married the diplomat and former New York State governor W. Averell Harriman. President Clinton appointed her Ambassador to France, in which position she served until her death in 1997.

Both Churchill and Clementine were active grandparents who saw their grandson often, enjoyed his company and took pride in his youthful accomplishments. For his part, young Winston was a devoted and loving grandson.

I hope you all have a nice weekend. Those of you in snowy areas be especially careful.