Our great and good friend Borepatch has a post up about all the folks who died on January 30th, including Gandhi, Sir Everard Digby, and that guy who crossed the 47 Ronin.
Borepatch’s post, and an email from Chartwell Booksellers, reminded me: Winston Churchill died on January 24th, 1965, but his funeral was
today er, on this date in 1965.
A couple of years ago, I read John Keegan’s Winston Churchill: A Life, and there was something in it that I found striking and moving:
Queen Elizabeth II attended his funeral.
I know that sounds like something you’d expect for Churchill, and I doubt there was any question about her going. But the royal family almost never attends the funeral of a commoner: they only go to funerals of other members of the royal family. I have this mental image of Elizabeth arguing with her people: “I’m going. I don’t care about tradition. He won the war, you…” Well, I doubt Elizabeth would say “assholes” but she might think it. I know it is fashionable to sniff at England and wonder what they need with the royal family, but it does seem like Elizabeth II is the class act of the bunch.
(And he got a state funeral, too. According to Keegan, the last commoner to get one of those was the Duke Of Wellington. In 1852.)
While I was working on this post, I found that the BBC has a nice archive devoted to remembering Churchill. I haven’t had time to go through it all yet, but I’m bookmarking it here.