Monday, October 27, 2008

The Churchill Series - Oct. 27, 2008

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

In Winston Churchill and His Inner Circle, Sir John “Jock” Colville, Churchill’s private secretary during both his premierships and trusted friend afterwards, writes about a remarkable woman who fell in love with Churchill shortly after he entered Parliament in 1902. Churchill did not reciprocate her love, but they formed a friendship that lasted until his death in 1965.:

”Another woman who had been in love with Churchill before he married, though he was never physically in love with her, was Violet, daughter of the Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith. She had her father’s intellectual gifts and was hard to match as a public speaker.

She was an eager conversationalist: some thought too eager, for she tended to feel so strongly in the cause she happened to be advocating that she would advance on her prey unrelentingly and drive him or her back into the fireplace. I myself once had the back of my trouser legs badly singed.

There were those who thought that in his early days as a Cabinet minister Churchill used her affection somewhat unscrupulously in order to maintain access to her father, the current fount of power. No doubt Churchill did find the association useful, but he was genuinely enthused by the vigor of Violets’ mind, even thought, at any rate in later years, he seldom agreed with her views.

Nobody interested in politics could fail to find her fascinating. Churchill saw much of her toward the end of his fife and the friendship which had begun in early youth endured untainted until extreme old age. Nor has a more truthful and perceptive book been written about him than Winston Churchill as I Knew Him, be Lady Violet Bonham Carter. (pg. 145)
I’ve read Winston Churchill as I Knew Him. It’s an excellent book.