'He loved her very much': Winston Churchill's grandson reveals statesman's 'near idolatry' for the Queen

The wartime leader had been her first prime minister when she ascended the throne in 1952, during his second and final term

'He loved her very much': Winston Churchill's grandson reveals statesman's 'near idolatry' for the Queen
Sir Nicholas Soames (L) said Sir Winston 'revered' the Queen and shared a warm friendship with her (Peter Summers & Hulton Archives/Getty Images)
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LONDON, ENGLAND: Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, has shed light on the close friendship between the celebrated statesman and the late Queen Elizabeth.

Soames, 74, said that Sir Winston "revered" the late monarch and shared a warm, paternalistic friendship with her. The wartime leader had been her first prime minister when she ascended the throne in 1952, during his second and final term. She went on to have an illustrious 70-year reign that saw him succeeded by 14 more premiers. Soames, a former Tory MP in Sussex who stepped down in 2019, chimed in on the bond they shared during a recent appearance on BBC.

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"She loved him and he loved her," Sir Nicholas told the outlet of the late monarch and his grandfather on Sunday, September 11. "He'd known her since she was a child and he loved her very much indeed. He revered her."

Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Winston Churchill (left of her majesty) posing for a photograph with the Commonwealth dignitaries attending a dinner at Buckingham Palace, London, December 3rd 1952. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Winston Churchill (left of her majesty) posing for a photograph with the Commonwealth dignitaries attending a dinner at Buckingham Palace, London, December 3rd, 1952 (Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Many have spoken of their camaraderie, with former British politician Roy Jenkins saying Sir Winston had what he called "near idolatry" for the Queen and deep respect for the monarchy. Sir Winston stepped down in 1955, just three years into Elizabeth's reign. He died in 1965 and was the last non-royal to receive a state funeral. 

A wreath and note from Queen Elizabeth II on Sir Winston Churchill's grave in Bladon, Oxfordshire, 31st January 1965. It reads 'From the nation and the Commonwealth in grateful remembrance, Elizabeth R'. (Photo by McCabe/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A wreath and note from Queen Elizabeth II on Sir Winston Churchill's grave in Bladon, Oxfordshire, 31st January 1965. It reads 'From the nation and the Commonwealth in grateful remembrance, Elizabeth R' (McCabe/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Born in the Victorian era, the World War II hero was nearly 80 years old when Elizabeth was crowned Queen at age 25 and regarded her with paternal affection. When she took the throne, he proclaimed a new "Elizabethan Age", and she offered to make him the Duke of London.

British prime minister Sir WInston Churchill (1874-1965) leaves his residence at Number 10, Downing Street, London, to visit Queen Elizabeth II and tender his resignation. His latter years were spent quietly in the pursuit of art and literature.
5th April 1955: British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) leaves his residence at Number 10, Downing Street, London, to visit Queen Elizabeth II and tender his resignation. His latter years were spent quietly in the pursuit of art and literature (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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According to the Daily Mail, their weekly meetings often ran for hours and the unlikely duo laughed and gossiped about horse racing. One insider reportedly confided that their meetings were "punctuated by peals of laughter, and Winston generally came out wiping his eyes." Decades later, when the Queen was asked which of her prime ministers she had the best time with, she reportedly said, "Winston, of course, because it was always such fun." Churchill also deeply admired the Queen, once telling a friend that "all the film people in the world, if they had scoured the globe, could not have found anyone so suited to the part."

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The Daily Mirror reported how the Queen wrote Sir Winston a heart-rending letter after he retired in 1955, noting how much she would miss him. She wrote that no other prime minister would "ever for me be able to hold the place of my first prime minister, to whom both my husband and I owe so much and for whose wise guidance during the early years of my reign I shall always be so profoundly grateful." And after Churchill died in 1965, Elizabeth is said to have broken protocol by arriving at his funeral before his family.

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The Royal Family; (from L to R) the Queen Elizabeth II, Philip of Edinburgh, the Prince Charles of England, the Princess Anne of England, attend Sir Winston Churchill's funeral ceremony 30 January 1965 at St Paul's Cathedral in London. Standing in the center General de Gaulle. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Royal Family; (from L to R) Queen Elizabeth II, Philip of Edinburgh, the Prince Charles of England, the Princess Anne of England, attend Sir Winston Churchill's funeral ceremony on 30 January 1965 at St Paul's Cathedral in London. Standing in the center General de Gaulle (Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Queen is supposed to be the last person to arrive at any function per royal protocol, but she wanted to be respectful to the Churchill family in this instance.

 

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