Winston Churchill received the Order of the Garter in 1953

This past May one of the commemorative events for Churchill 2015 was held at the spectacular and resplendent Blenheim Palace. In 1705, Queen Anne presented Blenheim Palace to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, on behalf of a grateful nation. Second World War Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Great ancestor had led the British and their allies to victory in August 1704 outside of the town of Blenheim in Bavaria. Winston Churchill’s grandfather was the 7th Duke of Marlborough and when Winston’s mother prematurely went into labour, her son was born in a cloakroom at the Palace.

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Official Churchill Biography

The official Churchill biography now firmly in the digital age

The Churchill Centre announced today that the Official Churchill Biography, Winston S. Churchill, is now available for download on Amazon’s Kindle. Rosetta Books and Hillsdale College has published all eight volumes of Winston S. Churchill in digital format. Will the sixteen [yes, twenty three!] document companion volumes be next?

One of the most amazing aspects of having all of the volumes of the Churchill Biography digitally on Kindle is that the are now all fully searchable and include the ability to bookmark and make personal notations. This makes it simple return to your saved passages time after time, online or on any of your devices.

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A personal gift from Winston Churchill

In a recent article in The Telegraph, it was mentioned that a Winston Churchill painting hangs in the office of the Australian Prime Minister. This was a surprise to me as I hadn’t heard any mention of this previously. So was curious to find out more detail on how the painting–if there really was such a painting–came to be displayed in the office of the PM.

I checked with a few Churchill experts and a Churchillian from Texas kindly informed me know that there is quite lengthy description of the painting and it’s provenance in John Ramsden’s book, Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend Since 1945 where he recounts how Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies came to acquire the Churchill painting.

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Ditchley Park

Ditchley Park, Enstone, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Though I didn’t make the short drive from Oxford on Saturday afternoon to see Ditchley Park, I recently read an interesting story about it in the Churchill biography by Roy Jenkins.

I’ve always heard that Ditchley Park was offered to Churchill during W.W.I.I. because the weekend house for use by serving Prime Minister’s, Chequers:

“in its Buckinghamshire hollow, was held to be unacceptably vulnerable at the time on the month ‘when the moon was high’”.

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Chartwell, Westerham, Kent

We had a visit to Churchill’s beloved Chartwell on Wednesday morning. One of his private secretaries related a delightful story about each time the PM would arrive at the gates of the driveway. As one makes the final stretch of the drive, you come up a hill and then wind down and around several bends with the roofline of Chartwell finally appearing through the trees. Each time they were on this final part of the winding drive, cigars and papers would be flying everywhere around the car; once they reached the gates of Chartwell, Sir Winston would always repeat the words, “Ah, Chartwell!”

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Hurley, Maidenhead, Berkshire

This past Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to meet Randolph Churchill for the first time. What a name that would be to live up to. He’s the great-grandson of Sir Winston, grandson of Randolph and his first wife, Pamela Digby [later Harriman] and son of Winston S Churchill MP.

His Grandmother is the same Pamela that married former New York Governor Averell Harriman in 1971, became a naturalised US citizen and was appointed Ambassador to France in 1993 by Bill Clinton.

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Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

At present, I’m sitting on the fast train out of Oxford Station heading for London’s Paddington Station. [Insiders tip: On the weekends you can buy a “Cheap Day Single” and upgrade to First Class for ₤5.] It’s late morning and after a lovely breakfast at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford where we’re been for the last several days, I’m heading back to London after an eight day-long immersion into the life of one of the most renowned international statesmen the Rt Honorable Sir Winston S Churchill.

One becomes The Rt Honourable upon appointment as a Privy Councillor to the reigning monarch.

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East Bergholt, Suffolk

The country house “Stour” was purchased in 1957 by Randolph Churchill, son of the Prime Minister, upon deciding to move from London. It’s still in private hands and we were quite fortunate to be able to due to the generosity of its current owners, Mr & Mrs Kelly. The organizers of the tour, Richard and Barbara Langworth had written the Kelly’s a letter regarding our trip and had persuaded them to host us with a lunch of sandwiches and sausage rolls.

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White House Hotel, London

I was pleasantly engaged in a chat with three fellow travelers on my journey and all of a sudden, from behind, a full rear assault by a woman of a certain age and a somewhat familiar face. She stormed me from behind and I didn’t see it coming whatsoever. She forced her hand in mine and said, “Hello, I’m Mary…”

Well, it all took me by such great surprise and I’m naturally used to calling people by their first names, that I replied, “Hi Mary, its very nice to meet you.”

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White House Hotel, London

On our tour of the Houses of Parliament, we continued on from the House of Lords through the Central Lobby which is the lobby that lies between both of the houses of parliament. The rules of the House provide that any constituent, at any time can come into this lobby and demand to see their representative. These days of course ‘lobbying’ is a bit more organized than strolling in unannounced.

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