Winston Churchill was and will always be one of the most important and recognized figures in Britain’s history. But few people know about the true influence Mrs Churchill, wife of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill had on winning the Second World War.
An exhibition displayed at their house in Chartwell, Kent, containing gifts from Royals, politicians and people worldwide, has unveiled Mrs Churchill’s involvement in diplomatic missions and interventions during her husband’s most difficult times. She took part during negotiations organised on the premises of her house, she kept up records of her husband’s engagements and remained until the end the “real force behind Churchill”.
Among the gifts exhibited at Chartwell, Kent, are a lalique crystal cockerel from Charles de Gaulle, sent to her as an apology for one of the disagreements he had with Churchill; a series of ‘thank you’ gifts for her engagement in sending aid to Russia; a special present from Stalin, which is a 19th century glass fruit bowl in the shape of a Viking Long Boat and drawer of silver cutlery from the people of Sheffield
The 30 piece collection, sent to their house towards the end and after World War Two, is now housed by the National Trust property at Chartwell, Kent. The gallery will be open by Sir Winston Churchill’s great-grandson, Mr Randolph Churchill.
According to the manager of the property for the National Trust, Judith Evans, the collection will finally show the true influence of Mrs Churchill during those hard times. She remembers Mrs Churchill as an incredible woman and a “big player”, who helped maintain some of the most difficult relationships and who worked tirelessly and quietly for the good of the country, The Telegraph reports.
She also talked about the gift Clementine Churchill received from Charles De Gaule and how the disagreement between De Gaule and Churchill started as they were taking dinner together. He used to come for dinner quite often, she said, and Mrs Churchill got on with him very well.
One evening though, he and Sir Winston had an argument over which Clementine felt very upset for him not showing more respect for her husband. When De Gaule left the house, he could see why she was cross, so he sent her the lalique cockerel to apologize.
Other names on the list include President Roosevelt, who sent Clementine a series of large maps in 1945 and King Peter II of Yugoslavia with a silver cigar box.
“Every gift was met with thanks. They would make sure everyone who was kind enough to send them things was recognized,” said the curator of the exhibition, Mr Jon Primmer.
The ‘Gift of Power’ exhibition is now open and will close on February 23, 2014.