A Jubilant Exhibition For Queen’s Big Jubilee

Queen-and-Churchill-MMM Magazine February 2022
Pic: Levan Ravishili/flickr.com (PD)

Chartwell has launched the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year by marking her special relationship with Churchill.

At the beginning of a year-long celebration of The Queen’s 70-year reign, a series of archive photographs tell the story of the enduring relationship between Her Majesty and her first Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, and the National Trust’s outdoor exhibition ‘Churchill and the Crown’, at his former family home Chartwell, is perfectly timed for marking the anniversary of 6 February 1952, the date The Queen acceded to the throne. 

And as Prime Minister, Churchill was the first person to greet her as Queen when she stepped off the plane on her return from Kenya, where she was when her father died.

The new photography display explores the monarchs Churchill served, and The Queen, in particular, was very important to him, as he was to her. The two had a close and genuine relationship, with Winston having first met her when she was just two years old.  

Churchill became The Queen’s trusted advisor through the earliest years of her reign, when wise advice was most needed, and he showed his affection for her by hanging a photograph of her Coronation Day on the wall of his study at Chartwell, Westerham..

“The relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and her first Prime Minister was a long-standing one,” says Katherine Carter, Chartwell’s property curator.

“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.”  

In a speech broadcast ahead of her Coronation, Churchill referred to The Queen as ‘a Lady whom we respect because she is our Queen and whom we love because she is herself’, showing just how fond of her he was. 

Years later, when asked which Prime Minister she enjoyed meeting with the most, The Queen replied: “Winston of course, because it was always such fun.” 

One of her household staff even remarked: “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.” 

Working with the Edenbridge-based photo library TopFoto, the reproduced photographs have been enlarged for their display on the Terrace Lawn (left). 

The outdoor exhibition runs until until 27 February, from 10am to 4pm.

nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell