Mary Soames, Daughter of Winston Churchill, Dies

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Mary Soames, the youngest daughter of former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Has died. According to a BBC News report, Soames died on Saturday May 31 after suffering from a short illness. Soames was 91 years old.

Soames was born Mary Spencer-Churchill on September 15, 1922. She was the youngest child of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine Churchill, born while Churchill served the role of Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Soames' death has resulted in an outpouring of sympathy for Soames' family, as well as many recollections of Soames and her father. Prime minister David Cameron released a statement this weekend, calling on people to remember Soames' service during World War II.

"I am saddened to hear that Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s last surviving child, has died," said Cameron. "She was a wonderful, warm-hearted woman who could always put others at ease. She was very kind to Samantha and me and we felt privileged to know her.

"My thoughts are with her family, who can take pride in her distinguished life."

As her father continued to climb the ranks of the Conservative Party, Soames began her lifetime of public service, working with the Red Cross and the Women's voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941. When World War II began in Britain, Soames joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, manning anti-aircraft batteries.

After rising to the rank of Junior Commander during the war, Soames was knighted for her accomplishments. Continuing her career in public service over the next decades, she would go on to be knighted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980. Throughout her life Soames served with the Church Army and Churchill Houses; was a patron of the International Churchill Society and the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged; and was chair of the board of trustees for the Royal National Theatre.

In 1947 Soames married Arthur Christopher John Soames, a Conservative Party colleague of her father's. Christopher Soames would become a Member of Parliament in 1950 and later hold the titles of Secretary of State for War, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and the British Ambassador to France. Mary Soames accompanied her husband in 1979 when he was appointed Governor of Southern Rhodesia. Christopher Soames was granted the life peer title of Baron Soames in 1978 and died in 1987.

Image via Philip Allfrey/Wikimedia Commons

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