tv Winston Churchill and the British Monarchs CSPAN November 12, 2016 12:00pm-12:45pm EST
state department. when people began to argue about what really happened, a very interesting book published by the state department. it became a political hot potato. this is at the height of the 1950's cold war. name major point of dispute. that is the wonderful thing about history. confuse it with new debates and new perspectives. it.ice way to put please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause]
>> coming up, from the 33rd international church hill conference, talking about former british prime minister was in charge of relationship with the four -- this is 45 minutes. >> it is my pleasure to introduce the illustrious speaker on churchill and the monarchs. in late 2013, i sat down in the library with imperial childhood. reading this article for the british empire was the last
assignment. contemplative as i was reading the article. he describes his childhood realization's that he was in an era of finding being, that this was a generation that held by its fingers on the coattails of the british empire. these poignant words about the sense of an ending resonated deeply that night as i reflected on the end of my journey at harvard. and more overly on the last step across the bridge from childhood to adulthood. and there in the library i begin to cry. to this day reading and improve childhood remains the most moving moment of my student life. i finally met him in person last you at the churchill center's leadership awards dinner in new york. since then has come to rescue me on to particularly frustrating spreadsheet days at the office
with tea and churchillian conversation which i am most grateful. i am fortunate to know him not only as a world-class scholar and historian but also as a tremendous listener, advisor and classic was and. sir david cannadine is the dodge professoprofesso r of history at princeton university, having previously taught at cambridge, columbia and london universities. as the author of 15 books and the editor of 13, the professors press one a few individuals who could rival churchill's prolific as he. in addition to his writing, teaching and research, professor cannadine is as a chairman of the trustees of the national portrait gallery in london as the general editor of the oxford dictionary of national biography, and is a fellow of the british academy, the royal historical society, the royal society for literature, among numerous other accomplishments. in 2000 it was knighted in the queens birthday honors force vast services to scholarship. it is now my pleasure introduce our speaker, perhaps the only person who could tackle the colossal subject of winston churchill and the monarch,
professor sir david cannadine. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much for the exceptionally kind and generous introduction. since i spent part of my time earning my living by speaking as well as by writing, i have become an unrivaled connoisseur of introductions to myself. [laughter] on one occasion i was lecturing them on the road with my biographer andrew mellon, and i was in kansas city, introduction given. and the chairman said i should like to reduce david cannadine is the author of the greatest biography of andrew mellon ever written at about the eating
promise well and rather -- then came the killer line, he said come is also of course the only blogger faith of andrew mellon ever written. [laughter] so thank you so much for not having said that. let it begin come its january january 1952. king george vi has just died and winston churchill delivers his last great public broadcast, announcing that news and, of course, a cleaning george the sixth successive. in the past six weeks churchill said the king walked with the death but when death came, it came as a friend, an acquaintance whom he recognized and did not fear. and after a long days sweet goodnight to those who love them best, he fell asleep as every man or woman who fears god and nothing else in the world may hope to do. and he ended as follows. i whose youth was not shared and i passed unchallenged drink will blow of the victorian era may
well feel and invoking once more the prayer and in some, god save the queen. there was the most eloquently devoted in its attitude towards the british monarchy as epitomized in his late majesty's george the sixth and her new majesty when elizabeth ii. indeed, according to -- winston was the only surviving believer in the divine right of kings and he took great pride and delight, mrs. clementines words, anything monarchical number one. who valued tradition, form and ceremony. churchill's public life which span more than half a century from the mid-1890s to the mid 1950s, it was a terrible cavalcade of kings and queens, throats analysis, coronations and jubilees. by the end of his career, church been a member of parliament during the reign of six successive sovereigns. he held office as a cabinet minister under four of them, and he was by substantial margin the senior counselor. king and country in that order, noted lord moran.
such as the all the religion that winston has gotten. however, what is interesting that winston churchill and monarchy is interesting about churchill and all the many other important things he did is that the subject turns out on closer examination to be much more complicated that at first glance, we might suppose the churchill had a rather interestingly nuanced view of the institution of monarchy and his relations with successful occupants of the british throne for themselves rather congregated and rather nuanced. one of churchill's news of monarchy was that despite the shortcomings of certain british monarchs the english throne is a sacred mystical almost metaphysical institution which connected the past, the present and the future and which proclaimed the unity and identity of the nation. and part of what the british monarchy was four and churchill's you was to do that.
a second view was that while other european nations preferred or suffered kings and queens who were generally despotic and absent, the british on the other hand, had the baltimore atmel form of constitutional and limited monarchy. thanks to parliament which represented the nation as a whole and the later advent of the two-party system, the sovereign power with progressively eroded any succession of -- which were milestones in the advancing cause of national liberties. magna carta all the way to the glorious revolution of 1688 and beyond. the result according to churchill was a happy compromise, a permanent parliament and it also monarchy whereby the sovereign rating above the battle of party while the lord and the common legislative and the cabinet got it. so the world in which churchill grew up in the late 19th century
where queen victoire it was on the throne was a world where for in monarchy was an institutional and tory terms and enterprise which embody the nation's history, continuity and identity in its symbolic functions and ceremonial activities. but it was also impractical and essentially a week term a convenient constitutional device which left the people free to elect their representatives through whom they govern themselves. and end the reign of queen victoria, the monarchy acquired to further functions. thanks to the happy home life of victoria and albert are provided a moral example to the nation of decent and beautiful promised a city in city in a way that had not been true for much of the time when the stewards and others have been on the throne. editorial is not the only head of the british nation but also became a great presiding personage of the much wider british empire.
largely on account of israelis and issued and imagination, her study, and imperial monarchy. the focus of a diverse and -- british tuner be extended across the seas and around the world which was united in homage to the queen. that monarchy by terms, tory and witty, mystical and functional, symbolic and constitutional, individual and -- national editorial was in the false narrative of its late victorian abundance, confidence and ostentation as church was growing up. it seemed an act expression of the british genius for organic constitutional evolution and working political compromise. it was widely ended around the globe and in this particular settlement of configuration it lasted the whole of churchill's long life.
our ancient monarchy to observe a number of prince charles rendered services to our country and to all the british empire and commonwealth of nations. but churchill never forgot that while the mystical unify moral and impaired functions of the monarch were important, the whole tenor and tone and dynamic of english history have been to bring about a state of affairs with the kings government was carried on by ministers who were primarily answerable to parliament rather than to the ground. he insisted in 1909 is always advise on the advice of ministers, and ministers not the crown are responsible. and criticism of all debatable acts of policy should be directed to ministers, not to the monarch. so those were churchill's general views about monarchy which remained pretty much unchanged for the whole of his
life. but how in practice to the interact with particular monarchs, and how far did those views that he had about the balance of power between the monarchy and the politicians in form and in certain cases antagonized his selection with the -- boom at the end of his life he felt proud and rightly so to have served. edward the seventh was the first monarch with whom churchill came into contact as an active and engaged in as he was in that phase of his life very energetic politician because he began to make a reputation in his first office as colonial undersecretary, king edward the seventh expressed delight is becoming a reliable minister and above all a serious politician which can only be obtained by putting country before party. i am he went on watching your
political career with the greatest of interest. but while and word did watch a young winston's early political career with great interest, he increasingly felt that churchill was headed in the wrong direction. he is a drive, brashness ambition, opportunism, self absorption and negativism soon traded on his sovereign. and by the end of the 1900s, by the end of edward the seventh ring, churchill is at his most you or ring, churchill is at his most radical political phase, supporting lloyd george for his people's budget, over increasing tax antennas hostile comments about the house of lords to call of his seemed to edward the seventh both -- in terms of all what was being said and is suggested that churchill had indeed abandoned the country and was now putting his party and his own career first. the very idea one of edward the seven senators wrote of churchill acting from conviction or principle is enough to make anybody laugh.
and edward the seventh anxiety about churchill's political conduct and character lasted to the end of his life in the end of his reign. his successor, although recognizing everybody had to do, he wasl and energy -- also influenced by his father's disapproval and in the early years thought churchill churchille -- irresponsible and unreliable. those critical views were strengthened when he was first in one sense he is a part of politician, and and engaged reformer.
george the fifth was a former naval person. he was head of the armed services and a believer in tradition and precedents. they rubbed each other up the wrong way over a whole set of sometimes trivial, sometimes more important issues. he had the bright idea of wanting to name a ship run while not surprising, he took valiant exceptions to commemorating the honor. they ended up calling it agent s pitts. [inaudible] he concluded that was in a very good idea either. i've always been gracious of any advice he has given me he wrote rather stiffly.
they were more important issues too. in may 1912, churchill decided that british battleships should be withdrawn from the mediterranean and relocated in the north sea pending what was going to be the war with germany the king disapproved. churchill exploded to his wife. king talked more stupidly about the navy then i have ever heard him do before. it was so disheartening to hear this cheapened rebel for which he lets himself be filled up. churchill did not give way on that issue and in the end, he prevailed. what is going on in this first phase of his career was that all was not well. edward the seventh and george the fifth disliked churchill because they thought he was insufficiently respectful of their person, their position and he thought his views were right
and theirs were wrong and they didn't like that. churchill was on intimidated and discussed what he thought were inappropriate interference with the politics. all that meant that when churchill fell over the disaster 1915, that news was greeted at buckingham palace with scarcely concealed belief wording on expressions of joy and pleasure. it is queen alexander who informed her son george the fifth, winston's fault who has upset almost everybody. george v took essentially essentially the same view. churchill had become impossible, real danger and he was delighted and relieved he had now been got out of harm's way. so then ended the first phase of
churchill's involvement with the british crown, a, a very different set of stories and relationships than that eloquent speech with which i started. how do we get from here to there? what is the process where the views of monetary -- monarchy become very different. the answer is during the war years, his attitude began to change as the balance between criticism and approval, his ability and appreciation shifted marginally in their favor. what's the explanation to that? the first world war had left churchill saddened and his
reputation damaged in his career prospect diminished also looking out on the social political and international landscape so trends formed and disturbed that a bore little resemblance. [inaudible] especially at the top of their list of those injuries had been the distraction and overthrow of the ruling royal houses of germany, russia and austria hungry. it's important to notice that when churchill came in the 1920s, early 1930s to write his book, he was not only, though he was primarily an enterprise in self justification of his
campaign, but it was also his idea of civilization and crowns and thrones. nations of empires rose majestically on every side and accumulated treasures of a long piece. that was him on this royal road before 1914 which the first world war had brought to an end. those postwar changes help explain the dramatic and complete transformation in his attitude and relationship with king george the fifth. by this time he no longer regarded his earlier radical liberal days, but on the contrary was the embodiment of
decency, duty, continuity and tradition in a world too often characterized by strife, revolution and chaos. by the same token, the king began to warm to churchill and the new conservative, that by the early 1920s he had become. that's the the point. in the early 1920s there are much involved in the process the island was partitioned and the south became was i independent and they seem to get along a lot better. churchill passionately began to believe that it was hugely important. answer the question he hoped. he argued this was the best antidote.
it provided glamour, splendor, restraint and stability. it was a silly idea that republicans were better governed it had been a huge fall in the restoration of the historic houses in germany and the successor state. they were seeing the disappearance of these great monarchies which held the continent together. he argued there are massive changes that destabilize the world. monarchies have learned,
democracy has become incontinent, unfettered and irresponsible. yet he went on, the heart of the british empire, there was one institution among the most agent that had breasted the events and gave new figure from the stresses of contemporary life. unshaken by the earthquake, on weekend by the tides, the world had drip drifted and the monarchy stands firm. he went on, this was an achievement so remarkable, so contrary to the whole tendency of the age that it could not be separated from the personality of the good, wise and truly noble team whose work now has ended. so of course, to edward, a rather large pickup in the story and this later part of his life. he wrote one of his grandiose sis letters which is what he used in corresponding with the
sovereign. offering his faithful service and heartfelt wishes at a rain that has so nobly begun would be blessed with grace and to group glory majesty's name will shine in history as the bravest of the sovereigns who had worn the island crown. he was good at predicting the future but he must be so, he didn't do that well on that occasion. those hopes were sincere and heartfelt and rested on exaggerated sense of the kings virtue and his blind eye toward
political attitude and the conduct of his private life. churchill decided he would take the king side against the government thereby lining himself with lord beaverbrook and seeking to embarrass the national government. many people said this is a self interest act on churchill. that's not the whole story. he was happy to embarrass the government but he genuinely sympathized with the dilemma of edward the eighth. with his knowledge and consent, churchill rallied the king, writing him letters, visiting him at fort belvedere, seeking to boost his morale and urging
him to be discreet in his relationship with mrs. simpson. he was worried it might lead to the wrong decision and could put public duty before the demands of personal gratification. it's very important to stress, given the second half of the 1930s that in championing how loyal king henry viii, he gave his own reputation harm with the public and the court. it was derived by many as unrealistic. he was ready to give up the throne for the woman he loved and misjudged the character of the sovereign and move mood of the country which turned against the king. he pleaded for extra time in the
house of commons and that extra time should be given. he was shut down. clement tien had the view that supporting henry viii was not a good idea. [inaudible] i see now the other one would not have done. he published an article on the new monarch in the magazine in may 1937. it is important to notice the consequence of having supported edward the eighth. that preposterous thing in the kings speech which some of you may have seen where churchill is seen cozying up to george the sixth and offering him wise advice and he it is utterly made-up and completely fictitious.
he has a rather interesting, soon after he became george the sixth. i know how devoted you have been and still are to my ideas. a rather shrewd observation. they regarded any supporters of hers and edward the eighth as enemies of theirs. what is more, to these delinquencies, they were further compounded by the fact that churchill was anti-appeasement. there there is the new king and queen by contrast where they were supporters of the prime minister. they shared with him a strong sense of decent moral values and invited him onto the balcony of buckingham palace after he returned with peace and honor from munich.
when he resigned on ten may, of may, 1940, george the sixth told him, he had been grossly unfairly treated and greatly regretted. they wrote saying how deeply i regretted ceasing to be prime minister. i can never tell you how much we owe you. but the other way, that meant that when churchill became prime minister in may 1940, it was an appointment which george the sixth and queen elizabeth bitterly opposed and the fact that he insisted, despite expressed misgivings, only seem to confirm the establishments worst fears, namely that the gangsters and the crooks were now in charge of the nation's affairs. true to his old cavalry, he was
was not always group list and keeping the kings form and was often. [inaudible] -- not always scrupulous in keeping the king nevertheless, the relations improved as the world proceeded, the king and queen became devoted as he was to them. it he would recognize the brilliance and defensibility of his wartime leadership. giving permission in july 1941 for churchill to leave the country to meet fdr off the coast of newfoundland, they breed -- breathed a great sigh of relief. churchill did his best to keep his sovereign about the wall and lunched with him at buckingham palace.
1941, george the sixth appointed hill.h hel when churchill wrote his wartime valued a single honor that he was tweeted -- that he was treated. the best possible arrangements, it should be churchill's appointment with the monarch. be -- es not seem to it is important to notice that while churchill's devotion were sincerely felt as they were eloquently expressed, he had not obtained power with any intention of sharing any of it
with the sovereignty. he kept became supplied with the appropriate papers and impressed by his mastery of them, but they were for information only. from the outside, churchill paid great attention to parliament reluctantly, and informed his cheeks of staff. he never changed his mind on wartime policy and personnel. the eighth of may 1945, churchill appeared on the balcony of buckingham palace with the kenyan clean. soon after -- with a cane and with the king and queen. so good were relations between
george the sixth and church health that the monarch was dismayed to lose, my dear winston. i was shocked that the result and thought it most ungrateful after all your hard work for the people. i shall miss your counsel more that i can say. said, should i accept the honor of the garter when you are getting them the boot? [laughter] the king was delighted to see him back as he had been dismayed as when churchill showed up at buckingham palace in 1930.
his sense of history invested the monarch with mystique. he always spoke of the house with reverence. it is a very interesting broadcast because it is a marvelous example of churchill's eloquent style, and although it is to that churchill praises george the sixth, he never suggested the king made serious impact on government policy. george was followed by queen elizabeth ii and the aging prime minister saw himself as playing lord melbourne to her young victoria. sovereign new to her great responsibilities.
they talked about polo, horses, and his early life in india. admiring of her first prime minister and enjoyed his company and gave him the order of the garter, which he earlier refused, and they used to go basing together. sometimes the prime minister is winning. greatest pleasures of churchill's -- elizabeth'sg succession, he hoped it would reveal a golden age in brighton salvation. on the evening of her coronation, he described the coronation of enthralled in our hearts.
lady who we was a respect because she is a clean and herself -- she is a queen and herself. been an inspiration to our people, the queen mother wrote in congratulation, and we are proud of you, a complete and conspicuous reversal of a hostile opinion she entertained of him back in 1914. her daughter, queen elizabeth ii, remained in touch with churchill after he ceased to be prime minister. and her appreciative affection was displayed on his death of january 1965 when she behaved impeccably. although it was at her instruction, arrangement represented a conspicuous
reversal of the previous occasion when parliament had to petition the reluctant queen victoria to recall a similar honor which she loathed. presidents,t and the funeral of her greatest subject as the entire roll family along with greece, denmark, and the grand duke of luxenberg. one of the most memorable images on that day was of the princes of europe gathering together on the steps saluting churchill's coffin. let me try to bring this rapid kansas to an end. aspects ofy churchill's lyrical career, his relationships with monarchs was a rich and buried story that unfolded at several different levels.
drama,as history, romance, and sentiment. grandiloquent and great perspective, they regarded british sovereigns as internal was proude affairs he to conduct an encouragement, recognition, and admiration he cherished. by day withhis day the succession of monarchs, the position was not quiet the same. the views he entertained of edward the seventh, george the sixth and edward the eighth certainly changed over time. and the views entertained of him on par of the views with edward the sixth and changed greatly over time. sometimes, from friendship to disapproval and sometimes in the opposite direction.
above all, it was crucial to remember that churchill was the duty that he was of the sovereign to act in accordance with the advised of his ministers. churchill never wavered in that belief. he was willing to give play on small and relatively insignificant matters. on all great issues, the personnel of politics, the grand strategies of war and peace, he was determined to get his way. mostly noted said it was hard to think of a single instance where churchill changed his course of action on any important questions in accordance with his perception of the wishes of the monarch of the time. finally, at another level and layer of this complicated interlocking story, churchill believe theto 1930's that monarchy is undertaking and practiced by the incumbent of the throne and did
ofvide the best guarantee stability, decency, freedom, and democracy in a world evermore disfigured by the twin evils of fascism and communism. churchillstitution, once told, paid such dividends is a monarchy. and by the end of his life, church hold -- churchill was chairman of the board. thank you. [applause] i have just been told by the timekeeper and chief that we five minutes for questions. who would like to start? don't be discouraged. [laughter] we have a question over here.
>> do you think that america would be better off if they had a monarch at the present time? [laughter] although it is to the deck pay my taxes in this country, i feel like i am an appreciative guest in this country, so i think it is for others to decide that, not me. [laughter] [applause] one moment. >> the history of the english speaking people, does churchill betray his feelings of various monarchs he dealt with in
dealing with the historic monarchs in the four volume set? it is usually interesting work in britain and the late 1930's, but not published to the late 1950's. as it were, there is nothing about churchill's role playing in human history. what is usually interesting from my point if you about the history of the english-speaking peoples is comments on the earlier moments, who he thinks are good guys, bad guys, how we treat the evolution of monarchy towards the system of constitutional monarchy, where the politicians govern in the name of the monarch, but the monarch reigns, but does not rule. those books are interesting about his views on the history of monarchy. it is an amazing thought that this is someone running britain for a long time that had written a history of britain.
what they wouldn't give for stalin's view of history or donald trump's view of america, or whatever it might be. [laughter] one more question. one more question. of course. >> thank you. thank you for your comments right now. my name is john. i am a guest in this country. first off, thank you very much for knowledge and queen elizabeth ii. i named -- i have a sister named after her. i wanted to comment on churchill's interesting
introduction to early life. [indiscernible] life is anne: early important group -- an important book. it is very funny. he is writing it in 1929 when the world is about to go to ruin again. he was rather attracted from that worrying standpoint which is the great instability of the early 1900s. the book ends with that "livingl sentence, happily ever after." now, i think we should go to lunch and live happily ever after there. [applause] on american history tv, from the 30 third