When Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill died in 1965 at the age of 90, tributes to the great man poured in from around the world. But in the decades since his death some have posed questions about his conduct, both political and personal. And allegations about the probity of the British war leader’s private life have recently been revived.
Churchill was born in 1874, when Queen Victoria presided over the far-flung British Empire. His birth was not humble, taking place in the magnificent splendor of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, an aristocratic descendant of the Dukes of Marlborough and an active politician. Meanwhile, his American mother Jennie was the daughter of wealthy New York financiers.
Churchill followed a typical path of the British upper classes of the time. First he attended the exclusive Harrow School. Subsequently, he went on to cavalry officer training at the elite military academy, Sandhurst College. After Sandhurst, he joined the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars in 1895, a mounted regiment founded in 1685. Churchill now combined military service in India, Sudan and South Africa with journalism and authorship.