Mary Soames, Baroness Soames
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|The Right Honourable
The Lady Soames
LG, DBE, FRSL
15 September 1922
Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK
|Spouse(s)||Christopher Soames, Baron Soames (1947–1987) (his death)|
|Parents||Winston Churchill (father)
Clementine Churchill (mother)
Mary Soames, Baroness Soames, LG, DBE, FRSL (born 15 September 1922) is the youngest of the five children of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, and their sole surviving child. She is the widow of The Lord Soames.
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 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 has served many public organisations, such as the International Churchill Society, as a Patron; Church Army and Churchill Houses; and has chaired the Royal National Theatre. She is Patron of the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged.
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.
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.
Lady Soames is a distant cousin of Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997), mother of the heir to the throne His Royal Highness Prince William of the United Kingdom, Duke of Cambridge, through the noble Spencer family.
- The Rt. Hon. Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames (known as Nicholas – b. 12 February 1948) – prominent Conservative Member of Parliament and former Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
- The Hon. Emma Mary Soames (b. 6 September 1949) – editor of Saga magazine
- The Hon. Jeremy Bernard Soames (b. 25 May 1952)
- The Rt. Hon. Charlotte Clementine Soames (b. 17 July 1954) now Countess Peel – is married to The Earl Peel, the Lord Chamberlain
- The Hon. Rupert Christopher Soames (b. 18 May 1959)
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 – present: The Rt Hon. The Lady Soames, LG, DBE
- Booknotes interview with Soames on Winston & Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills, 2 May 1999.
- A film clip ALLIES TAKE KISKA ETC. (1943) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
Books written by Mary Soames (titles may vary between UK and US editions):
- Clementine Churchill: The Biography of a Marriage (1979)
- Family Album: A Personal Selection from Four Generations of Churchills (1982)
- The Profligate Duke: George Spencer Churchill, Fifth Duke of Marlborough, and His Duchess (1987)
- Winston Churchill: His Life As a Painter (1990)
- Speaking For Themselves: The Private Letters Of Sir Winston And Lady Churchill (1999)
- Clementine Churchill: The Revised and Updated Biography (2005)
- A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's Youngest Child (2012)