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Mary Soames

Daughter of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine
The basics
About
Occupation Writer Biographer
Country United Kingdom
AKA The Lady Soames, Baroness Soames
Date of birth Chartwell
Date of death May 31, 2014 London
Family
Spouse: Christopher Soames
Children: Nicholas Soames Emma Soames Rupert Soames Charlotte Clementine Soames
Sister(s): Marigold Frances Churchill Sarah Churchill Diana Churchill
Father: Winston Churchill
Mother: Clementine Churchill Baroness Spencer-Churchill
Authority IMDB id ISNI id VIAF id Library of congress id
The details
Biography

Mary Soames, Baroness Soames, LG, DBE, FRSL (née Spencer-Churchill; 15 September 1922 – 31 May 2014) was the youngest of the five children of Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine. She was the wife of Christopher Soames.

Biography

1945 photo at Potsdam Conference
Lady Soames' Garter banner at St Martin's Church, Bladon
Churchill and Soames grave at St Martin's Church, Bladon

Mary Spencer-Churchill was raised at Chartwell and educated at the Manor House at Limpsfield. She worked for the Red Cross and the Women's Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1941 with whom she served in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain). She also accompanied her father as aide-de-camp on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.

She served many public organisations, such as the International Churchill Society, as a Patron; Church Army and Churchill Houses; and chaired the Royal National Theatre Board of Trustees between 1989 and 1995. She was Patron of the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged.

A successful author, Lady Soames wrote an acclaimed biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, in 1979. She offered insights into the Churchill family to various biographers, prominently including Sir Martin Gilbert, who became the authorised biographer of Sir Winston Churchill after the death of Churchill's son, Randolph, in 1968. Additionally, she published a book of letters between Sir Winston and Lady Churchill, editing the letters as well as providing bridging material that placed the letters in personal, family, and historical context.

One of her more notable public appearances came on 29 April 2002 when she dined with the Queen at Buckingham Palace as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, alongside Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the four surviving former prime ministers at the time, as well as several relatives of other deceased prime ministers.

Lady Soames was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her public service, particularly in Rhodesia. She was appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter on 23 April 2005, and was invested on 13 June at Windsor Castle.

On 31 May 2014, Lady Soames died at her home in London at the age of 91 following a short illness. Her ashes are buried next to those of her husband within the Churchill plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Six months after her death, on 17 December 2014, Sotheby's London auctioned 255 items out of her collection on behalf of her heirs, including paintings by and memorabilia attached to her father, Winston S. Churchill. The sale far exceeded pre-auction estimates.

Family

Mary Soames married the Conservative politician Christopher Soames (later created Baron Soames) in 1947 and they had five children:

  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Nicholas Soames (12 February 1948) he married Catherine N. Weatherall on 4 June 1981 and they were divorced in 1988. They have one son. He remarried Serena Mary Smith on 21 December 1993. They have two children, a son and a daughter.
  • The Hon. Emma Mary Soames (6 September 1949) she married James MacManus on 4 July 1981 and were divorced in 1989.
  • The Hon. Jeremy Bernard Soames (25 May 1952) he married Susanna Keith in 1978. They have three children:
    • Gemma Mary Soames (1979) she married Andrew Ferguson. They have two sons:
      • Arthur Hugh Archie Ferguson (2 September 2013)
      • Walter Jeremy Sidney Ferguson (29 June 2016)
    • Flora Caroline Soames (1982)
    • Archie Christopher Winston Soames (1988)
  • The Hon. Charlotte Clementine Soames (17 July 1954) she married Richard Hambro in 1973 and were divorced in 1982. They have one daughter. She remarried William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel on 15 April 1989. They have one daughter.
    • Clementine Silvia Hambro (1976) she married Orlando Fraser in 2006. They have four children:
      • Ruby Elizabeth Mary Fraser (19 March 2007)
      • Christabel Charlotte Silvia Fraser (21 May 2009)
      • Alice Fraser (24 March 2011)
      • Kit Richard Hugh Fraser (26 February 2015)
    • Lady Antonia Mary Catherine Peel (14 December 1991)
  • The Hon. Rupert Christopher Soames (18 May 1959) he married Camilla Rose Dunne in 1988. They have three children.

Titles from birth

A list of the titles Lady Soames held in chronological order from birth:

  • 15 September 1922 – 1945: Miss Mary Spencer-Churchill
  • 1945 – 11 February 1947: Miss Mary Spencer-Churchill, MBE
  • 11 February 1947 – May 1965: Mrs. Christopher Soames, MBE
  • May 1965 – 1972: The Hon. Mrs. Soames, MBE
  • 1972 – 19 April 1978: The Hon. Lady Soames, MBE
  • 19 April 1978 – 14 June 1980: The Rt Hon. The Lady Soames, MBE
  • 14 June 1980 – 23 April 2005: The Rt Hon. The Lady Soames, DBE
  • 23 April 2005 – 31 May 2014: The Rt Hon. The Lady Soames, LG, DBE

Arms

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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