Winston Churchill's last surviving child Lady Mary Soames dies aged 91

Lady Soames: 15 September 1922 - 31 May 2014

Winston Churchill's last surviving child, Lady Mary Soames, has died aged 91.

Lady Soames, born Mary Churchill, died peacefully after a short illness on Saturday. She was surrounded by her family at home in west London.

She was the youngest of the the wartime Prime Minister's five children with his wife Clementine.

Her son, the Conservative MP Nicholas Soames, described her as "a truly remarkable and extraordinary woman, who led a very distinguished life.”

He added: “She was not just a wonderful mother to whom we were all devoted, but the head and heart of our family after our father died, and will be greatly missed.

“She was a distinguished writer and led a distinguished life, with her service in the war, and is part of that generation which is passing."

He called the timing, just before the anniversary of the D-Day Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944, "extraordinary".

Sir Winston Churchill with his daughter Mary and son-in-law Christopher Soames (right) in 1964. Sir Winston Churchill with his daughter Mary and son-in-law Christopher Soames (right) in 1964. During the Second World War, Lady Soames worked for the Red Cross and the Women's Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941.

She also served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service with  in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain).

Accompanying her father as an aide on several of his overseas journeys, she visited Germany for the historic Potsdam Conference in 1945, where he met with US president Harry S. Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

She married the Conservative politician Christopher Soames (later Baron Soames) in 1947 and they had five children - Nicholas, Emma, Jeremy, Charlotte and Rupert.

In later life Lady Soames supported many public organisations, such as the International Churchill Society, Church Army and Churchill Houses and was patron of the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged.

She also chaired the Royal National Theatre.

In recognition of her public service, particularly in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter in 2005.

Her acclaimed 1979 biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, won a Wolfson Prize, and she also wrote her own book of memoirs.

Additional reporting by PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album