Autumn/Winter 1881 (Age 6)

 

Lord Randolph Churchill and his family had settled in at 29 St. James’s Place, London. Notwithstanding his narrow return by Woodstock and his low standing with the Prince of Wales, Lord Randolph had begun his meteoric rise within the Tory Party. The Tories, WSC later wrote, were in disarray, “outmatched in debate, outnumbered in division. What political prophet or philosopher surveying the triumphant Liberal array would have predicted that this Parliament, from which so much was hoped, would be indeed the most disastrous and even fatal period in their party history? Who could have foreseen that these dejected Conservatives in scarcely five years, with the growing assent of an immense electorate, would advance to the enjoyment of 20 years of power?”

This was the political background, Randolph Churchill wrote, against which Winston was to live the four sensitive years of his life between the ages of five and nine. St. James’s Place was to be Winston’s home for the next two years; then, after Lord and Lady Randolph had again visited the United States, the family moved to 2 Connaught Place. But it was from Blenheim, in this winter 100 years ago, that came Winston’s first known letter to his mother:

“My dear Mamma: I hope you are quite well I thank you very very much for the beautiful presents those soldiers and Flags and Castle they are so nice it was so kind of you and dear Papa. I send you my love and a great many kisses. Your loving Winston.”

His mother, Churchill would later write in “My Early Life,” always seemed “like a fairy princess: a radiant being possessed of limitless riches and power. She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly — but at a distance.” His relationship with his mother was to improve drastically from these tenuous beginnings. It was she who would play a great part in advancing his early career.

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