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Mary Soames is the youngest and only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. She was born in 1922 and brought up at Chartwell in Kent. In 1941, aged eighteen, she joined the ATS and served in mixed anti-aircraft batteries in England and Europe. She accompanied her father as his ADC on several of his wartime overseas journeys. In 1945 she was awarded the MBE (military). In 1947 she married Captain Christopher Soames, Coldstream Guards, later Lord Soames, PC, GCMG, CH. She has also written her mother's biography, Clementine Churchill and edited Speaking For Themselves, the personal letters between her parents.
Now in her eighty-ninth year, Mary Soames is the only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Younger than her siblings by several years, she went to day school and enjoyed an idyllic childhood played out in her very own 'Garden of Eden' - Chartwell. Here she roamed house and grounds, tended diligently to her collection of pets, and had her first glimpses of the glittering social world in which her parents moved. Then, in 1939, Chamberlain's declaration of war dramatically ended this world as she and her family had known it. Joining the ATS and serving in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, Mary takes on her own set of professional demands while sharing the many anxieties and stresses brought to bear upon her family through her father's position. The mutual love and affection between Mary and her parents is evident on every page, from her earliest years at Chartwell to Winston's defeat at the 1945 general election, when Mary recounts her own pain and devastation on her father's behalf. At this point she meets her future husband, Christopher Soames.
At ninety years old, Mary Soames is the only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. A Daughter's Tale follows her early life from an idyllic childhood in her own `Garden of Eden' at Chartwell to her ATS service in mixed anti-aircraft batteries during the war. With glimpses into her fascinating personal diary, published here for the first time, she draws us into a world where the experiences of a packed family, social and romantic life unfold against a background of cataclysmic events. When Chamberlain's declaration of war in 1939 shatters Mary's world, she begins to share the anxieties and stresses suffered by her family through her father's position. The mutual love between Mary and her parents is evident on every page, from her Chartwell years to Winston's defeat at the 1945 general election, when she recounts her own devastation on her father's behalf. As she meets her future husband Christopher Soames at the end of this charming memoir, it is clear that, at twenty-four, Mary has lived a full life and is well prepared for her future as wife and mother.
When Clementine, Lady Spencer-Churchill died in 1977, aged 92, she had become a much-loved and iconic figure to the British public. In spite of being instantly recognisable as the seemingly serene, cool and detached wife of Winston Churchill, she had nonetheless shunned publicity throughout her life. In this fully updated, award-winning biography, her daughter Mary Soames throws new light on her mother, writing with affection and candour of Clementine's fifty-seven-year marriage to Winston, her strongly held political views and a life that spanned many of the major events of the twentieth century. Clementine Churchill was the perfect wife for Winston. For the years of their marriage she supported him through the triumphs, disasters and tensions that ruled his public and private life. As a shy, passionate and highly-strung woman, Clementine's self-control was constantly tested to the utmost by the turmoil of public life and in the no less harrowing family crises and the ever-present financial anxieties. When they married in 1908, Winston was already a Member of Parliament, and thereafter their life was played out mostly in front of the nation and the world. Winston always trusted Clementine completely and she became his valuable counsellor and companion. He invariably wanted her opinion - but did not always take her advice. She believed in him unreservedly, and in his destiny. When first published in 1979, CLEMENTINE CHURCHILL won the Yorkshire Post Prize for Best First Work and a Wolfson Prize for History. This major revision makes full use of a wealth of new, intrinsically personal material that has come to light since then and elaborates further on many of the issues raised in the original edition. -Acclaim for CLEMENTINE CHURCHILL:'Uniquely informed by their relationship ...Lady Soames masks shrewd judgement and natural literary skill beneath a cloak of modesty: she has established her mother's place in history. ' MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH'Exemplifies the first principle of biographical writing, namely, that showing what it was like, whatever the subject's rold may have been, takes precedence over everything else. ' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
The fascinating, insightful and often moving correspondence between Sir Winston and Lady Clementine Churchill extends from their early days of innocent courtship in 1908 to Winston Churchill's death in 1965. The letters serve not only as a chronicle of their personal achievements and tragedies over the years, but also as a political and social history. In their own words, Winston and Clementine recount some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century: the sinking of the Titanic, the abdication of King Edward VIII, the downfall of governments, the Depression, and two world wars. Here are harrowing first-hand accounts from the battlefields of 1915, reflections on political triumphs and upsets, as well as domestic minutiae, foreign travel, revelations of social scandals and, above all, words of mutual support and encouragement that span the career of one of Britain's most revered statesmen. Speaking for Themselves is not only an important historical document, it is a love story and an intimate, charming and often surprising insight into one of the century's most successful marriages. Mary Soames is perfectly placed to select and comment upon this vast collection of letters. And in her introduction and notes she complements the letters with explanatory notes, biographical details and her own personal recollections.