“We may think of Churchill as an amiable or even reverent agnostic, who conceived of himself not as a pillar of the church but perhaps as a flying buttress. He did not invoke the Deity casually or cynically, a fact which confers its own interest upon his touching and heartfelt reply to the Queen’s letter following his retirement as prime minister in April 1955.
“The monarchy signified for Churchill something of infinite value, at once numinous and luminous; and if you will allow the remark in parenthesis, ladies and gentlemen, do you not sometimes long for someone at the summit of our public life who can think and write at that level?” —Professor David Dilks
Our Island no longer holds the same authority or power that it did in the days of Queen Victoria. A vast world towers up around it and after all our victories we could not claim the rank we hold were it not for the respect for our character and good sense and the general admiration not untinged by envy for our institutions and way of life. All this has already grown stronger and more solidly founded during the opening years of the present Reign, and I regard it as the most direct mark of God’s favour we have ever received in my long life that the whole structure of our new-formed Commonwealth has been linked and illuminated by a sparkling presence at its summit.
—WSC to HM The Queen, from Sicily, 18 April 1955