Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill: Wikis


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Clementine Hozier
Baroness Spencer-Churchill
Clementine Churchill in 1915
Spouse Winston Churchill (m. 1908–1965) «start: (1908-09-12)–end+1: (1965-01-25)»"Marriage: Winston Churchill to Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill" Location: (linkback:,_Baroness_Spencer-Churchill)
Diana Churchill
Randolph Churchill
Sarah Churchill
Marigold Churchill
Mary Churchill
Father Bay Middleton
Mother Blanche Henrietta Hozier
Born 1 April 1885(1885-04-01)
Mayfair, London, England
Died 12 December 1977 (aged 92)
Knightsbridge, London, England

Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, GBE, CStJ (née Hozier; 1 April 1885 – 12 December 1977) was the wife of Sir Winston Churchill and a life peeress in her own right.


Early life

Clementine was born in Mayfair, London to Lady Henrietta Blanche Hozier (1852–1925), daughter of the 10th Earl of Airlie and second wife of Sir Henry Montague Hozier (1838–1907); she was second among four children (three daughters, one son). Clementine was probably an illegitimate child, most likely fathered by Bay Middleton - her paternity is a subject of much debate, as Lady Blanche was well known for sharing her "favours". After Sir Henry found Lady Blanche with a lover in 1891, she managed to avert her husband's suit for divorce due to his own infidelities, and thereafter the couple separated. Lady Blanche maintained that Clementine's biological father was Capt. William George "Bay" Middleton, a noted horseman; Mary Soames, Clementine's youngest child, believes this.[1] On the other hand, Clementine's biographer, Joan Hardwick, has surmised (due in part to Sir Henry Hozier's reputed sterility) that all Lady Blanche's "Hozier" children were actually fathered by her sister's husband, Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (1837–1916), better known as a grandfather of the famous Mitford sisters of the 1920s. Whatever her true paternity, Clementine is recorded as being the daughter of Lady Blanche and Sir Henry.

Clementine was educated first at home, then briefly at the Edinburgh school run by Karl Froebel, the nephew of the famous German educationist, Friedrich Froebel, and his wife Johanna[2] and later at Berkhamsted School for Girls (now Berkhamsted School) and at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was twice secretly engaged to Sir Sidney Peel, who had fallen in love with her when she was eighteen.[3]

A young Winston Churchill and fiancée Clementine Hozier shortly before their marriage in 1908

On 12 September 1908, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, Clementine married Winston Churchill, more than a decade older and already a seasoned Parliamentarian. Together they had five children: Diana (1909–1963); Randolph (1911–1968); Sarah (1914–1982); Marigold (1918–1921); and Mary (b. 1922). Only the youngest, Mary, is still alive (as of 2010). None of the other four children shared anything of their parents' longevity: Marigold died at the age of three, and the others died in their 50s or 60s, two of these (Diana and Randolph) predeceasing their mother. The Churchills' marriage, in spite of the stresses of a public life, was a close and affectionate one.[4]

World War I

After her marriage, during World War I, Clementine Churchill organised canteens for munitions workers on behalf of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in the North East Metropolitan Area of London.

The 1930s

In the 1930s, Clementine traveled without Winston aboard Lord Moyne’s yacht, the Rosaura, to exotic islands: Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides. During this trip, she had an affair with Terence Philip, a wealthy art dealer seven years her junior. It was an affair that could not outlast the sultry clime, but it was meaningful to her. She brought back from this trip a Bali dove. When it died, she buried it in her garden beneath a sundial. On the sundial’s base, she had inscribed:

It does not do to wander
Too far from sober men.
But there’s an island yonder,
I think of it again.[5]

As the wife of a politician who often took controversial stands, Clementine was used to being snubbed and treated rudely by the wives of other politicians. However, she could take only so much. Traveling at one time with Lord Moyne and his guests, the party was listening to a BBC broadcast in which the speaker, a vehemently pro-appeasement politician, criticized Winston by name. Vera, Lady Broughton, a guest of Moyne, said “hear, hear” at the criticism of Churchill. Clementine waited for her host to offer a conciliatory word but, when none came, she stormed back to her cabin, wrote a note to Moyne, and packed her bags. Lady Broughton came and begged Clementine to stay, but she would accept no apologies for the insult to her husband. She went ashore and sailed for home the next morning.[6]

World War II

During World War II she was Chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund, the President of the Young Women's Christian Association War Time Appeal and the Chairman of Fulmer Chase Maternity Hospital for Wives of Junior Officers. The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex is named after her.

After the war

In 1946 she was appointed a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, becoming Dame Clementine Churchill GBE. Later, she was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Glasgow and the University of Oxford and later, in 1976, by the University of Bristol. In May 1965, she was created a life peer as Baroness Spencer-Churchill, of Chartwell in the County of Kent. She sat as a cross-bencher, but her growing deafness precluded her taking a regular part in parliamentary life.

Like many elderly Britons, Lady Spencer-Churchill found that inflation and rising expenses made it difficult to meet the costs of living. In early 1977 she sent five paintings by her late husband to auction.[7] The sale went much better than expected, and rescued her from her financial difficulties.[citation needed] Only after her death was it discovered that she had destroyed the famous Graham Sutherland portrait of her husband because she did not like it.

Lady Spencer-Churchill died in Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, London of a heart attack at the age of 92. She is buried with her husband and deceased children at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

Titles from birth to death

From To Name
1 April 1885  2 September 1908  Miss Clementine Hozier
2 September 1908  1946  Mrs. Winston Churchill
1946  24 April 1953  Dame Clementine Churchill, GBE[8]
24 April 1953  17 May 1965  Clementine, Lady Churchill, GBE
17 May 1965  12 December 1977   The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Spencer-Churchill, GBE 


  1. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, 
  2. ^ Soames, M. (2002). Clementine Churchill: the biography of a marriage. London, Doubleday
  3. ^ Mancester, W. (1988) The Last Lion – Winston Spencer Churchill – Alone – 1932–1940; p. 386; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-54503-1
  4. ^ Mancester, W. (1988) The Last Lion – Winston Spencer Churchill – Alone – 1932–1940; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-54503-1
  5. ^ Mancester, W. (1988) The Last Lion – Winston Spencer Churchill – Alone – 1932-1940; p. 263; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-54503-1
  6. ^ Mancester, W. (1988) The Last Lion – Winston Spencer Churchill – Alone – 1932-1940; p. 387; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-54503-1
  7. ^ TIME magazine, 7 March 1977, p.40
  8. ^ Continued to style herself "Mrs. Winston Churchill".
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Anne Chamberlain
Spouse of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Violet Attlee
Preceded by
Violet Attlee
Spouse of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Clarissa Eden


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