Violet Attlee, Countess Attlee
Helen Millar was born in Hampstead as the tenth child and youngest daughter of Henry Edward Millar, a prosperous businessman. Her early education took place in Hampstead before she went to Saint Felix School, a boarding school in Southwold. She worked as a VAD throughout World War I, meeting her future husband shortly afterward. In the summer of 1921, she went with her mother to Italy; joining them on the trip were her brother Cedric and a former Oxford friend, Clement Attlee. Within a few weeks of their return they became engaged and were married at Christ Church, Hampstead on 10 January 1922. Theirs would be a devoted marriage. Their four children were Lady Janet Helen (born 1923), Lady Felicity Ann (1925–2007), Martin Richard (1925–1991) and Lady Alison Elizabeth (born 1930).
A kind, unassuming woman who was not, by her own admission, "a political wife", Countess Attlee assisted in personal matters, for instance arranging annual Boxing Day parties at Chequers for the children of her husband's ministerial colleagues. She was constantly at Clement's side at party conferences, at innumerable gatherings overseas, and in the detailed chores of his political career, despite being a lifelong Tory voter. She acted as his regular driver during postwar elections.
Frequently in poor health, Attlee took ill suddenly and was admitted to Amersham Hospital on 7 June 1964. Seven hours later, she died of a cerebral haemorrhage. With her were her husband, son, second daughter, and the latter's husband.
Having been married to her for 42 years, Clement Attlee outlived her by three years.
- Miss Violet Millar (20 November 1895 – 10 January 1922)
- Mrs Clement Attlee (10 January 1922 – 16 December 1955)
- The Rt Hon. The Countess Attlee (16 December 1955 – 7 June 1964)
|Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- "Death Of Lady Attlee", The Times, 8 June 1964; pg. 10
- "Countess Attlee, A Devoted Wife and Companion", The Times, 9 June 1964; pg. 15
- "Clement Attlee" in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Portraits of Violet Helen (née Millar), Countess Attlee at the National Portrait Gallery, London