CHURCHILL IN HIBERNATION, WEEK 2
Well, the city has now gone on PAUSE.
And so have we.
Which allows us even more time to recollect how Winston Churchill willed himself to recovery when fate forced him to the sidelines.
Churchill suffered a massive stroke on the evening of June 23, 1953, in the midst of his second term as Prime Minister. Within days he was partly paralyzed. His doctor, Lord Moran, held out scant hope for Churchill surviving the weekend. His condition was kept a secret from all but Queen Elizabeth and a few political intimates.
Somehow, though, Churchill lived. As the Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook later remarked, “He refused to accept defeat: as he had done for the nation in 1940, so he did for his own life in 1953. He was determined to recover.”
The stroke did not touch Churchill’s memory; he continued to recite poetry aloud throughout his convalescence. The day-to-day operations of his office were left to his longtime private secretary, John Colville, and his son-in-law, Christopher Soames, who discreetly and judiciously managed matters, as Colville noted in his diary, “careful not to allow our own judgments to be given Prime Ministerial effect.”
Churchill retreated to his bed to read novels, dispensing with dictation sessions for the first time in his political life. Among the books he read while recuperating were The Dynasts by Thomas Hardy, Death to the French by C. S. Forester, and Balzac’s Le Père Goriot—in French.
We continue to wish you good health, a sufficency of hand sanitizer and boundless Churchillian willpower of your own.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help.