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 Churchill’s 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. And his birth was not humble, taking place as it did 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. His American mother Jennie, on the other hand, was the daughter of wealthy New York financiers.
Furthermore, Churchill followed a path typical to that 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 Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Then, after Sandhurst, he joined the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars in 1895 – a mounted regiment founded in 1685. Churchill went on to combine military service in India, Sudan and South Africa with journalism and authorship.