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The Queen Thought Churchill Was Fun ..
In April 1955, the Queen showed she was prepared to do the unexpected by becoming the first sovereign to enter 10 Downing Street.
No other monarch had been invited – and if they had they would have probably declined.
But Elizabeth broke with tradition by accepting an invitation to the farewell dinner party of her 80-year-old Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
When she succeeded to the throne, Churchill reminded her that he had held his first government office during the reign of her great-grandfather, King Edward VII, and that he could go back even further, having been born in the reign of Queen Victoria.
The 52-year difference in their ages never affected their regard for one another, and the Queen said she enjoyed her weekly audience with Churchill more than any other ‘because he was so much fun’.
The First Celebrity War Reporter ..
Winston Spencer Churchill (1874 – 1965) was the first celebrity war reporter.
He made his name in the Boer War, obtaining a commission to act as war correspondent for the Morning Post on a salary of £250 per month just weeks after the conflict broke out in 1899.
Shortly after arriving, he joined a scouting expedition in an armoured train, leading to his capture and imprisonment in a PoW camp in Pretoria, but he escaped across the border to Portuguese Mozambique and wrote about his exploits for the paper.
The daring and bravery he showed turned him into a celebrity and on his return to England he published two volumes of memoirs, recounting his Boer War experiences as both a correspondent and military officer.
A few years earlier, in 1895, he wrote about the war in Cuba for the Daily Graphic, and while there acquired a taste for Havana cigars.
He also wrote about the war in Sudan, taking in the British Army’s last cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman.
The Perfect Working Day ..
Mention the name Winston Churchill and you will think cigars and fighting them on the beaches.
You do not think bricklayer.
And yet there he was for months on end in the Kentish apple orchards at Chartwell, with a trowel and cement, taking Churchillian pride in building a wall that wouldn’t topple over.
It was one of the things he did to get away from his wife, and to ward off his depressions.
In Churchill’s autobiography he claimed that his unhappy time at Harrow would have been better employed as a bricklayer’s mate.
He once told Stanley Baldwin that he had arrived at the definition of a perfect working day: ‘2000 words and 200 bricks’.
The People’s Princess ..
Lady Diana Spencer was 20 when she married Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral in July 1981.
She battled loneliness, self-doubt and eating disorders and the fairy-tale didn’t last long.
The marriage collapsed in 1992 but the world had fallen in love with the doe-eyed beauty.
Diana’s work with Aids victims, the homeless and the campaign to ban landmines was pioneering and her death in 1997 aged just 36 sparked a massive wave of public grief.
( Beth Neil )
The Queen’s First TV Christmas Message ..
For the first five years of the Queen’s reign, her Christmas message was broadcast only on radio as it was felt that television was too new a medium for such an occasion.
However, in 1957, Her Majesty made broadcasting history when she agreed to make her first televised Christmas appearance.
This was in the days before sophisticated recording was introduced, so the programme went out live with no chance of correcting any possible mistakes.
Happily, it all went well, even though the Queen was obviously a little nervous in front of the camera.