Who do you know that would give up a life of comfort and security for a one full of danger, intrigue, and perhaps death at the hands of conspiratorial forces? Winston Churchill did, which is why he is one of my favorite characters in history. Though lesser known, Winston Churchill’s family was equally interesting.
Winston Churchill and His Parents
Winston’s father was Randolph Churchill, the third son of the Duke of Marlborough and his mother was Jennie Jerome, daughter of a New York Stock Exchange investor. Lord Randolph was at one time respected as one of the more sophisticated, intelligent, and ambitious men in England. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer at age 37, making him one of the youngest men to ever hold that position. Everyone thought it possible that he would one day be prime minister. His life was cut short after he contracted syphilis.
Winston’s mother Jennie Jerome was an American heiress and one of the most celebrated women of society in her time. Jennie zealously supported her husband’s political career. Later, she played an extraordinarily important role in Winston’s meteoric rise, using her knowledge and vast social connections to advise her son. As Winston said of his mother, “She shone for me like the evening star. I loved her dearly – but at a distance.”
Winston in his own right was brilliant, often praised for being courageous and steadfast. He was a hero of the Boer War after escaping an enemy prison camp and traveling 300 miles to safety. During WW I, he was ruined politically due to a series of disastrous military campaigns. Winston was also hailed as the savior of England in WWII after holding London despite the Axis’ frequent attacks. He had a dogged determination that could make him difficult to deal with in times of peace, but it also made him absolutely essential in times of war.
How Winston Churchill’s Family inspired Braxton’s Century
In my novel, Braxton’s Century, the titular character was in part inspired by Winston Churchill and his family. The Churchill’s victories, tragedies, and foibles are well represented in this novel. Both Braxton and Churchill were pioneers, inspiring greatness in others and their nations. Both had deep-seated personal conflicts, that surely impacted their lives and maturation as individuals. It is interesting to contrast Churchill’s distant relationship with his father and his worship of his mother. Braxton worshiped his mother and respected his father. That is where the similarity diverges.
Prince Braxton embodies a “not so perfect” man. Thank goodness! We could not possibly “stomach” or relate to a ‘lily-white” successful over-achiever. However, we can cheer for someone that is talented and ambitious facing and overcoming challenges, paying the price along the way.
We are invigorated and energized by adventurous, romantic characters rushing head-on into danger and unpredictable possibilities. We anticipate challenges and look forward to the characters navigating the inevitable, which is why flawed heroes like Churchill still captivate our imaginations.
We love the victory! Yet, we are a bit more comfortable with the flawed and imperfect. It is so much easier to relate to someone that could at any moment be ruined, while we secretly hope that our hero prevails!
What character traits do you think are the most important in Winston Churchill family’s and Braxton’s family?
We all give thought to our relationships with our own parents. Hopefully, all of us try to provide well for our children emotionally and financially. Just how important is the foundation we create for our children’s lives? Are their lives part of our legacy?
I encourage you to provide comments on your thoughts. I know you have them.
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