History,  Politics

Did Churchill sleep with his Daughter-in-Law?

It is well known Sir Winston Churchill did everything he could to influence the United States to enter the Second World War.

This almost certainly included having his Daughter-in-Law, Pamela Churchill (pictured), seduce the married American millionaire, Averell Harriman, President Roosevelt’s special envoy to Britain. He also likely had his Daughter, Sarah, get together with the new American ambassador, “Gil” Winant.

The two girls could translate their intimate pillow talk with the Americans into private brefings for the Prime Minister, an invaluable source of information on the United States’ intentions.

It was while researching those relationships that I ran across some startling, and incriminating, evidence that Winston had intimate pillow talk himself with one of the girls.

Churchill’s bomb shelter

What first caught my eye was this quote from historian Andrew Roberts as reported by the Daily Express.

Mr Roberts had exclusive access to the love letters of Pamela Harriman, which reveal the affairs, whilst researching for his new biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

He said: “At one point three delegates to the Yalta Conference were writing her love letters!

“The new source allows us glimpses into Churchill during the war because all the men she was sleeping with worked with Churchill, and wrote to her about him.

“She slept platonically in the same bunk as Churchill during air raids, because his wife Clementine didn’t like his snoring!”

I immediately wondered how “platonically” a red-headed firecracker like Pamela could be in a narrow bed with a nude man, since that was Sir Winston’s normal sleeping habit.

We get an idea of the pair’s relationship in the British documentary, “Churchill’s Girl,” from biographer Christopher Ogden

She’s getting calls regularly from the Prime Minister, her father-in-law. Would she come down and join him? He sends an armoured car and brings her down to 10 Downing Street, often late in the evening.

He tells her what’s on his mind, he tells her about ‘the black dog,’ the depression that sits on his shoulder like a visible malevolent presence. He tells her what’s troubling him, he tells her what’s going bad, he tells her what’s going well.

She’s sitting there at the foot of probably the predominant man in the Western hemisphere and she’s hearing him spill out his thoughts, his fears, his concerns and she’s 20-years old.

It gives her enormous confidence. And it gives them a very significant emotional tie.

Churchill’s wife Clementine is down in the country and so he sends for a nubile 20-year old who is prepared to climb into bed with him. Humm. So how close were they? Michael Dobbs, author of “Churchill’s Hour,” intrviewed in the same documentary, puts it this way:

I think Winston Churchill took a real shine to Pamela in many ways. She was the young woman who stuck with him throughout the darkest days of the war.

She was there with him in the bomb shelter in the old wine cellar of Number 10, she cut his cigars for him, she was very attentive to the old man. Through all those deep dark days, Pamela was there for him. Taking care of him. And I suspect she became something of a lucky charm for him.

Don’t these two passages point in just one direction? Isn’t this the description of how Pamela Churchill treated all her lovers?

Of course, no one in Britain, or America for that matter, is likely to confirm what Ogden and Dobbs are hinting at. Let me throw in one more quote. This is from Lara Marlowe, writing in the Irish Times.

Old Winston was genuinely fond of his son’s red headed 19-year old bride and the two often played cards together late into the night.

Played cards? Late into the night? Well, you decide.

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