Foreword by Harriet Walter.Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures is a fully illustrated and abridged edition of Sonia Purnell’s acclaimed biography, First Lady, including over 100 stunning and rarely seen photographs. Without Winston Churchill’s inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, his role in the Second World War would have been impossible but for ‘Clemmie’. That Clementine should have become Britain’s First Lady was by no means preordained. She may have been born an aristocrat but her childhood was far from gilded. Deprived of affection, a secure home and sometimes even food on the table, by the time she entered high society she had become the target of cruel snobbery. Yet in Winston she discovered a partner as emotionally insecure as herself; and in his career she found her mission. Theirs was a marriage that was to change the course of history.
Clementine gave Winston confidence, conviction and counsel. Not only was she involved in some of the most crucial decisions of the war, she also exerted an influence over her husband and his governments that might be judged scandalous today. Her ability to manage this exceptional man, and to charm Britain’s allies, earned her the deep respect of world leaders, ministers, generals and critics alike. While her tireless work to alleviate suffering on the Home Front and abroad made her a champion to many in the population at large.
From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills’ ‘wilderness years’ in the 1930s, to Clementine’s desperate efforts to sustain Winston during the struggle against Hitler, Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures continues to uncover the memory of one of the most remarkable women of modern times.
Sonia Purnell is an acclaimed biographer and freelance journalist. After starting her career at the Economist Intelligence Unit she went on to a senior position on the Daily Telegraph’s City pages, and later moved to the Daily Mail, where she was Whitehall Editor. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was a candid portrait of London Mayor Boris Johnson, informed by her time working alongside him in Brussels in the 1990s. First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill was first published in 2015 to great critical acclaim. In March 2019, she published her third book A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall, a New York Times bestseller. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.