“Randolph Churchill: Present at the Creation,” is from a lecture aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer on the 2019 Hillsdale College Cruise around Britain, 8 June 2019. Concluded from Part 2.
“The Great Work” —Randolph S.C.
After the war, Churchill willed his archive to Randolph. In 1959, impressed by his son’s biography of Lord Derby, he invited Randolph to be his biographer. Randolph devoted himself to the job, knowing by then that he had wrecked his body, that the process of disintegration was advanced. Could he finish in time? Randolph wondered.
My friend Steve Hayward had the wit to paraphrase, in reaction to the arrival of Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, some comments about another incoming PM, eighty years ago next May. “Cambridge Cute,” a friend remarked of Steve’s good piece.
Speaking of Cambridge Cuties, I immediately thought of what Andrew Roberts described as “The Respectable Tendency,” the British establishment, in his great book, Eminent Churchilllians. So I dug into a dozen books to find more of what they said back then. (Lightly paraphrased.)
“Two days earlier I had been a Minister of the Crown, red box and all. Now I was reduced to the position of a messenger between my wife and Winston Churchill, each of whom burst into tears on receipt of a message from the other.” —Harold Wilson
The Hillsdale College Churchill Project is rapidly completing final volumes of Winston S. Churchill, the official biography. (The name is somewhat of a misnomer; no one has ever censored any material.) Suitably, all thirty-one volumes will be complete by June 2019: the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. It will be fifty-six years since Randolph Churchill and his “Young Gentlemen” including Martin Gilbert began their work.…