Churchill’s faith in personal diplomacy—solving intractable problems by meetings at the highest level—was famously expressed during World War II.
Less widely known is Churchill’s 1914 proposal for a conference of heads of state (including, it seems, French President Raymond Poincaré) in an effort to head-off World War I. The scheme failed, but not for Churchill’s lack of trying.
There is little on Churchill’s “kingly conference” in the literature. There is no reference in Churchill’s The World Crisis, Asquith’s memoirs, or biographies by Manchester, Jenkins, Rose, Charmley and Birkenhead, though Sir Martin Gilbert includes in the official biography an excerpt from a cabinet member which records Churchill’s words in the cabinet of July 27th:
Churchill said we were now in a better than average condition, & the fleet was at war strength….Churchill,…
The Irish novelist George Moore originated the tale that Sir Winston’s mother Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill, slept with 200 men. Assuming she did so, say, between ages 20 and 60, she averaged five per year, a ten-week average affair (if she had them one at a time, with a couple days’ break in between). Which is a lot of lovers to maintain, given the state of Victorian and Edwardian locomotion.
However ridiculous, the claim stuck, and is regularly trotted out and embellished on a medium poor Jennie never anticipated: the Internet. It occurs so often because it’s so easy to rattle off, and prurient enough to raise a website’s Google Analytics—never mind whether it is even feasible.…
Per the previous post, I append for reader comment the contents of my next book, Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality: What Churchill Stood For.
I have written on most of these matters in the past; the book recasts it afresh. I also acknowledge and cross-reference the work of experts who know far more than I, particularly in the fields of genealogy and medicine. I would be glad to hear your thoughts; please use the “contact” page.
The historian David Stafford wrote: “Myth only develops and takes hold when the time is right, and the climate has long been ripe for the emergence of myths about a wartime hero who stood firm against a totalitarian foe and smote an evil empire.”…
Winston Churchill: Urban Myths and Reality: Lies, Fables, Myths, Distortions and Things that Go Bump in the Night.
Not a day passes when Sir Winston Churchill, who proved himself indispensable when freedom needed him, is not accused of something, from alcoholism to war crimes—often without serious attribution, or through selective quotes, arranged and cropped so as to advance the preconceived notion.