This post was most recently updated on December 24th, 2017
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill is revered as one of the most famous and celebrated Britons in the long history of the United Kingdom. His leadership as prime minister during World War II and the many stories surrounding his turbulent political career are well known from frequent repetition in books, films and elsewhere. But many details of his long life are less familiar and, indeed, often surprising.
Unpromising BeginningsThe future leader was born prematurely during a dance held on 30 November 1874, in the ladies lavatory at the Churchill family home, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. His was a family of the highest aristocratic origins, and the fact that his father — Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill, himself the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough — was an MP, Secretary for India, Chancellor or the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons was bound to have an influence upon the young Winston.
His father (who went mad and died of syphilis at a relatively young age) was a stern parent who thought little of his son’s failure to excel while at school. The young Winston, it has to be said, did not attract undue attention for his mental prowess and was generally considered slow-witted. He also had a lisp. When the time came for him to enter the Royal Military College at Sandhurst it took him three attempts before he was admitted.