When Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 she was excited and terrified simultaneously of her first weekly meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. As a youth growing up during WWII she revered Churchill and like most Brit’s credited him with saving the world from terrorism and Nazism.
She should not have been anxious… within weeks their weekly meeting stretched from half an hour to three hours. No records were allowed so the conversations could flow from personal to top political secrets and future plans.
When Churchill died in 1965 Elizabeth was heart-broken and even broke protocol at his funeral by arriving first ( even before the family) instead of last as protocol demanded-this was done to show her highest respect and regard. ( She has since met with fifteen prime ministers.)
In 1955 when Churchill retired she wrote him a personal handwritten letter he kept the last decade before his passing. He had what he called ” near idolatry” for Elizabeth and the monarchy.
Elizabeth was well aware of Churchill’s sharp witticisms and retorts…from the laughter that rang out every week she enjoyed them immensely! They provided much needed relief from the Cold War nuclear age thrust upon the world.
Buddy/friend… Playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote to Churchill.
Dear Mr. Churchill,
Enclosed are two tickets to my new play, which opens Thursday night. Please come and bring a friend, if you have one.
To which Sir Winston replied:
I am sorry. I have a previous engagement and cannot attend your opening. However, I will come to the second performance, if there is one.
During Churchill’s last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. While there, he overheard two men behind him whispering ” That’s Winston Churchill. They say he is getting senile. They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men.” When the ceremony was finished, Churchill slowly turned around and said “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf.” ( I think President Biden would love that anecdote)
Humor and levity is much needed these days in politics… there is a direct correlation proven between quick wit and IQ… maybe the lack of witticisms in politics today… overshadowed by angry .negative name-calling and whining …is a sign of the ” dumbing” of American politics… and what happened to smiling … frowning and pouting are poor substitutes?
So until tomorrow… ” There are three things which are real: God, human folly and laughter-the first two are beyond our total comprehension-so we must do what we can with the third.”
Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh
I figure I might as well put out the welcome signs for wildlife to come partake of the garden-at 8:00 yesterday morning a friendly little fox watched me pull weeds and then merrily trotted away…
I just felt I had to respond to this today. I absolutely loved Winston Churchill and always thought he contributed so much in World War II. His speeches were so powerful, and his sense of humor, as you pointed out, was unmatched. I was a child when I heard him on the radio, and his voice kind of scared me. However, as I studied history, I thought he kept the people of England encouraged to never give up. Thank you for sharing these anecdotes because they are what make history so interesting. I have loved watching the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. She is so amazing. By the way, your flowers are gorgeous.
Jo you are a walking history book!!!!! I want to sit on a rug on the floor in a storytelling session and just listen to you tell history through your eyes and experiences!!!!Love you!!!
Good morning, Becky. I enjoyed your post this morning, even more than usual. You know well how much I love and revere Winston Churchill. We have enjoyed calling up so many of his famous quips through the years. The one you shared today was a new one for me. Thanks so much for sharing. Luke and I have been watching a lot of TV this summer – especially THE CROWN, DARKEST HOUR, and DUNKIRK. We have loved his sharp tongue and sharper wit.
Hope you are doing well. Miss seeing you.
So exciting to hear from you friend…I miss you too!!!!I also watched The Crown and enjoyed it immensely!!!I do miss all the historical quips and anecdotes we shared…Love you!!!!!!
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