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Discovering Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle

« My father, a thoughtful, cultured and traditional man was imbued with a sense of the dignity of France ».
Charles de Gaulle, War memoirs

« She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly - but at a distance ».
Winston Churchill, My early life, about his mother

Almost a generation separated the “little native of Lille in Paris”, born in 1890 to a small bourgeois and Catholic family, and the descendent of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, who was born in 1874 in the sumptuous Blenheim Palace. The child of a family bound together by the values of Catholicism and patriotism, Charles de Gaulle grew up in Paris, “in the shadow of the Invalides” and its military glory, and received a very classical education in various religious institutions. Meanwhile, Winston Churchill, who went from one boarding school to another, suffered from a lack of affection, between a frivolous mother and a father who was brilliant politician with fleeting glory, who was disinterested in his son as much as the latter venerated him.

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Tunic of uniform - 4th Queen's Own Hussars
- end of 19th century -
London, The Queen's Own Hussars Museum

© Nigel Harvey, curator of the QRIH museum collection

Charles de Gaulle's (1890-1970) Invitation to the Saint-Cyr Ball,
with handwritten mention of the name "Charles de Gaulle"
- 12th July 1911 -
four colour printing on strong paper

© Adrien Leguay, musée du souvenir des Ecoles de saint-Cyr Coëtquidan

Pair of duel pistols
that belonged to the First Duke of Marlborough
and given to his descendant, Winston Churchill
18th c. - wood, metal

© Churchill Family Collection

Alphonse Marie Deneuville, "de Neuville" (Saint-Omer, 1836 – Paris, 1885)
Défense de la porte de Longboyau, au château de Buzenval, le 21 octobre 1870
oil on canvas

© Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/image musée de l'Armée

Charles de Gaulle, aged 7, 1897
© Archives de Gaulle, Paris, France / Bridgeman Images

Winston Churchill in a sailor suit, aged 7, 1881
Churchill Archives Centre © Curtis Brown