Diana Churchill

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Diana Churchill
Diana Spencer-Churchill.jpg
Churchill with then husband Duncan Sandys in 1935
Born(1909-07-11)11 July 1909
Pimlico, London, England
Died20 October 1963(1963-10-20) (aged 54)
Westminster, London, England
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Known forWinston Churchill's daughter
  • John Milner Bailey
    (m. 1932; div. 1935)
  • (m. 1935; div. 1960)
Children3, including Edwina Sandys
Parent(s)Winston Churchill
Clementine Hozier

Diana Spencer-Churchill (11 July 1909 – 20 October 1963) was the eldest daughter of British statesman Sir Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill.

Personal life[edit]

Charles Sims, Two Girls Seated: Diana and Sarah Churchill, 1922, National Trust, Chartwell

Diana Churchill was born at 33 Eccleston Square, London, on 11 July 1909,[1] the first of five children of Winston Churchill – then a member of Parliament and government minister – and Clementine Hozier. She attended Notting Hill High School and then the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she spent five terms,[2][3] although her focus was not on acting.

On 12 December 1932, she married John Milner Bailey (15 June 1900 East Grinstead – 13 February 1946 Cape Town, South Africa), who became the Bailey baronet Sir John Milner Bailey, 2nd Bt, but the marriage was unsuccessful and they divorced in 1935. On 16 September 1935, she married the Conservative politician Duncan Sandys (later life peer Lord Duncan-Sandys). They had three children together and divorced in 1960.

In 1962, she changed her name by deed poll back to Diana Churchill.[4]


With Duncan Sandys she had three children:

  • The Honourable Julian Sandys (19 September 1936 – 15 August 1997). He married Elisabeth Martin in 1970. They had four children:
    • Lucy Diana Sandys (born 1971); she married David Pite in 2007. They have two children.
    • Duncan John Winston Sandys (b. 1973); he married Mary Brown C. Brewer and divorced in 2016. They have one son.
    • Jonathan Martin Edwin Sandys (1975–2018); he married Sara Hill in 2009. They had two children, who are the first descendants of Sir Winston Churchill to be born in the United States (Texas).[5]
    • Roderick Julian Frederick Sandys (1977 – 9 December 2007)
  • The Honourable Edwina Sandys (b. 29 December 1938);[6] she married Piers Dixon in 1960 and divorced in 1973. They had two sons. She married Richard D. Kaplan in 1985.
    • Mark Pierson Dixon (b. 1962)
    • Hugo Duncan Dixon (b. 1963)
  • The Honourable Celia Sandys (b. 18 May 1943); she married Michael Kennedy in 1965 and divorced in 1970. They have one son. She married Sir Dennis Walters in 1970 and divorced in 1979. They have one son. She married Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Perkins in 1985. They have two children.
    • Justin Kennedy (b. 1967)
    • Dominic Walters (b. 1971)
    • Alexander Winston Duncan Perkins (b. 1986)
    • Sophie Rachel Perkins (b. 1988)

Military service[edit]

She was an officer in the Women's Royal Naval Service during the Second World War.

Health problems and suicide[edit]

Churchill had several nervous breakdowns. In 1962, she began working with the Samaritans, an organisation created for the prevention of suicide.[7] On 20 October 1963, she died at 58 Chester Row, Westminster, S.W.1, leaving an estate valued at £59,259.[8] The cause of death was an overdose of barbiturates, and a coroner later concluded that it was a case of suicide.[7] She is buried with her parents (who both outlived her) and her siblings (Marigold originally was interred in Kensal Green Cemetery in London, but her remains were relocated in 2019 to join the rest of her family) at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.


  1. ^ Wrigley, C. (2002). Winston Churchill: A Biographical Companion. ABC-CLIO biographical companion. ABC-CLIO. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-87436-990-8. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  2. ^ Lovell, Mary S. (2012). "1932-7 Changes at Blenheim". The Churchills: a family at the heart of history – from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill. London: Abacus. ISBN 9780349119786.
  3. ^ "Diana Churchill". rada.ac.uk. Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Sandys, (Edwin) Duncan, Baron Duncan-Sandys". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/39858. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Houston City Scope: Sir Winston Churchill offspring born in Houston". Houston Lifestyles & Homes. May 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  6. ^ Lovell, Mary S. (2012). "1938-9 Towards Armageddon". The Churchills: a family at the heart of history – from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill. London: Abacus. p. 401. ISBN 9780349119786. The year 1938 was a bad one for Clementine's health... Again, Winston was too busy to join her. He wrote to her on 19 December... Ten days later Diana gave prematurely and easily to a baby daughter whom she called Edwina. 'The baby is tiny but perfect,' Winston reported, 'and by my latest news, thriving.'
  7. ^ a b "Mrs. Diana Churchill "Suicided"". The Age. 25 October 1963. Archived from the original on 6 December 2020. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  8. ^ "CHURCHILL Diana Spencer" in Wills and Administrations 1963 (England and Wales) (1964), p. 259