Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, perhaps England’s most celebrated politician for his vehemence, wit and oratory, died on January 24, 1965, the date he had predicted years before, because it was the same day his father had died.
He smoked, drank heavily, and ate freely. However, these excesses did not prevent him from reaching 91 years of age. “Booze and cigarettes have given me much more than they have taken,” he used to say as if to excuse himself, because he knew very well that it was not so. During the war a stroke, which was kept secret, had complicated the negotiations at Yalta.
With 80 years on his back, and after having held important political and military positions, Churchill felt that his ability had diminished and in 1955, after having received the Nobel Prize for Literature, he left the position of Prime Minister to his collaborator, and relative, Anthony Eden.
Sir Winston continued to serve as Member of Parliament for Woodford until the 1964 election. In these last ten years he rarely attended Parliament, never speaking in public again, knowing that he might not be up to the task, or was it might be blocked, as it had been before the war.
Churchill spent a lot of time in France, on the shores of the Mediterranean in his villa La Pause, painting and chatting with his friends, including Aristotle Onassis, who invited him several times to sail on his yacht “Christina”.
They say that once they had to pass through the Dardanelles Strait, he asked to do it at night, so as not to remember the shocking failure of Gallipoli (Churchill argued that it was necessary to open a second front in Turkey to weaken Germany and take pressure off the French front ).
In this coming and going from the Mediterranean to his house in Chartwell, between whiskey and cigars, receiving recognition from the world that praised his illustrious defense of Nazi aggression, he spent his last years. In 1959 he was named Father of the House of Parliament, as its longest-serving member, having served every British monarch from Queen Victoria to Elizabeth II.
In 1963, John Kennedy made him an honorary citizen of the United States (remember that Churchill’s mother was American and Kennedy’s father had been American ambassador to the United Kingdom during the war). Churchill was unable to travel; his son Randolph attended the ceremony on his behalf.
Added to the physical deterioration was the aggravation of his depression, “those black dogs” that had attacked him for years and sometimes left him bedridden. He no longer read and spent his time looking out the window. He needed two nurses to move. His doctor and friend, Lord Moran, tells us how he was shrinking visibly.
In early 1965 he had a cold; later he suffered a heart attack and days later, a cerebral thrombosis; in moments of lucidity he reminded those present of his premonition: he would die the same day as his father. This phrase, which he had repeated more than once, without the family paying attention to him, suddenly made sense. Indeed, his father had died of complications from syphilis he suffered from 70 years earlier (this condition suggests that Winston’s younger brother was not the son of the same father, but of his mother’s lover, Evelyn Boscawen).
His entire family was present at the moment of the outcome. Kneeling, they awaited his death, which occurred at 8 AM on January 25, 1965.
The man who had said “We will never give up”, the one who had told a nation that it had only “blood, toil, tears and sweat” to offer. The one who affirmed that success was the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm, only said when he died: “I’m bored with everything.” He was buried near where he was born, Blenheim Palace, where his ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, the Mambrú of our nursery rhymes, lived.