‘Special relationship’ between the Queen and Sir Winston Churchill on display at exhibition

The “special relationship” between the Queen and Sir Winston Churchill is to be showcased at the late Prime Minister’s family home, in an exhibition charting their “genuine warmth and friendship”.

The bond between the monarch and her first Prime Minister will be illustrated by an outdoor photography exhibition at Chartwell in Kent, in honour of the Platinum Jubilee.

Churchill and The Crown will tell the story of Sir Winston’s relationship with King George VI and the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and how it continued with their daughter.

The National Trust, which now runs Chartwell, said the “series of hand-selected archive photographs will tell the story of the special relationship between the Queen and Sir Winston Churchill, at his family home”.

L-R: Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Sir Winston Churchill, King George VI and Princess Margaret on VE Day 1945

Credit: PA

The exhibition will see photographs of the pair enlarged and displayed outside along with information, allowing it to go ahead in the open air even if further coronavirus lockdown measures are reinstated.

It will open in January, shortly before the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations begin.

The pair, who are both widely considered among the greatest of their generations, first met when Princess Elizabeth, as she was at the time, was just two years old.

The Queen acceded to the throne in 1952 during Sir Winston’s second term as Prime Minister.

The National Trust said that she “meant a great deal to him”, with their “enduring relationship” being illustrated by the photograph of her on her coronation day, which Sir Winston hung in his study at Chartwell.

Sir Winston Churchill and the Queen, centre, meeting leaders of the Commonwealth in 1955

Credit: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

The Queen chats to Sir Winston Churchill whilst awaiting the arrival of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at London’s Waterloo station in 1954

Credit: TopFoto

In promoting the exhibition, the trust quotes a member of palace staff commenting on their conversations, to say: “I could not hear what they talked about, but it was, more often than not, punctuated with peals of laughter, and Winston generally came out wiping his eyes.” 

Katherine Carter, the curator at Chartwell, said: “The relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and her first Prime Minister was a longstanding one.

“From Churchill’s warm friendship with her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, through to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and the earliest years of her reign, these archive photographs encapsulate a truly remarkable friendship that changed the course of history.”

The exhibition runs from Saturday January 15 to Sunday February 27. Entry is included within the price of normal admission.

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