Sonia Purnell

Sonia Purnell

First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill

Sunday 27 September 2015

1 Hour


Blenheim Palace: The Marlborough Room



Ticket price

Biographer Sonia Purnell explains why Blenheim Palace-born Sir Winston Churchill said his leadership in World War II would have been impossible without his wife Clementine beside him.

Purnell had access to rarely seen archives, letters and diaries in the UK and US and collected new testimony from members of the Churchill and Roosevelt families and from surviving members of the Churchills’ staff for her new biography of Clementine Churchill. She sheds new light on a complex woman who was trying to maintain her identity while serving as conscience and adviser to Britain’s great war leader. And she explains how Clementine was involved in some of the war’s most crucial decisions and how she charmed both Britain’s allies and those working on the home front.

Purnell has worked as a Whitehall correspondent and editor on both the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, a portrait of London Mayor Boris Johnson was longlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Sponsored by HSBC.