Summer 1959 (Age 84)

Lady Churchill’s shingles had left her with a drooping eyelid but the condition was surgically cured in August. Impressed with the number of patients who required corneal transplants, she willed her eyes to Moorfields Eye Hospital for therapeutic purposes.

Despite her own medical problems, she shared the anxiety of Sir Winston’s doctor about his mental depression. Perhaps the “Black Dog” was brought on by his concern with his place in history. “Why,” Churchill asked Lord Moran, “do I get stuck down in the past? Why do I keep going over and over those years when I know that I cannot change anything?”

Others also dwelt on the Churchill past, but usually to tell stories about his famous, if somewhat caustic, wit. Churchill had been suspicious of the BBC since it had not allowed him to participate in some political broadcasts in the 1930’s, despite the fact that it had been the decision of the Tory leaders to exclude him. When WSC made similar political decisions as PM in the 1950s, the head of the BBC commented that Churchill’s real concern was the influence of Communists in the BBC. The executive remembered being told that he was “an antediluvian liberal sitting on a nest of vipers, which will presently strike and destroy you.

Harold Macmillan reminisced that when Churchill was once told that Clement Attlee had performed well as PM, he replied that “if any grub is fed on Royal Jelly it turns into a Queen Bee.”

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