Winston Churchill’s granddaughter – Celia Sandys

Celia SandysIf you’re travelling to or through London with TAUCK, you may well have the pleasure of meeting Celia Sandys, one of their ambassadors, at a dinner or presentation where she tells tales of her grandfather that cannot be found in the history books. Celia is one of Winston Churchill’s grandchildren and she spent many holidays with him, in the last five years of his life. She has also written five books about her grandfather, including one on his early life and one on his travels.

Her first trip with him was aged sixteen, as she was an available grandchild of the right age. They were guests of Aristotle Onassis and his wife on his incredible superyacht ‘Christina O’ sailing in the Mediterranean. Fellow guests were Maria Callas and her husband. And it was on this voyage that two marriages ended and a love affair began. What an extraordinary trip for the little-travelled young Celia to experience! She recalled her grandfather asking her to describe what she could see from the cabin windows each morning, particularly the colours. So very important to the artist he was.

Winston and CeliaMany of her memories of Winston Churchill are from his country home, Chartwell, in a domestic setting, where his grandchildren had little notion of the public figure he was, but rather saw him as a benign figure whom they rather took for granted. Feeding the fish and visiting the animals were simple pleasures they all enjoyed together here.

Celia also accompanied him on painting trips, where he enjoyed the Mediterranean sun in Monte Carlo staying at the Hotel de Paris. These were peaceful trips, with drives in the country and picnics; Celia adored having her grandfather to herself. Painting was a great solace for him and his favourite leisure activity, which he began in 1915 and continued for the rest of his life, apart from a break during the Second World War. At this time he painted just one picture of sunset over Marrakech, which currently belongs to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Quite where it will end up, who knows.

Terrasse Salle Empire - Hotel de Paris, Monte-CarloCourage is the quality Celia said Winston Churchill would most want to be remembered for. It was this which allowed him to defy everyone during the Second World War and to convince the nation that they would win the war in the end. 

Meeting Celia Sandys is a fascinating experience; her insights into her remarkable grandfather are warm, amusing and give a rare opportunity to learn about the more private moments of this great statesman. Her recollections are a graciously fitting tribute to him.

Listen to Jennie’s radio interview with Celia

If the soundplayer does not display properly, please click here to listen.

For more information on worldwide tours, including river cruises call Tauck UK on 0800 810 8020. 


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Jennie Carr

Silver Travel Advisor Creative and Communication Director, member of BGTW

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