Funeral of Winston Churchill

Churchill's cortege in London during the funeral
Churchill's cortege in London during the funeral

Historical Context

Winston Churchill's funeral was on a scale befitting his place in history as the prime minister who guided Britain to victory during World War II. He died on January 24, 1965, having lived to the age of 90. The government had been planning extensively for his funeral in the years before his death, and it had to be revised several times as Churchill kept living, leading Lord Mountbatten to remark that "the pallbearers kept dying and Churchill kept living."

It became the largest state funeral in history. Representatives from over 120 countries attended the ceremony in London, including Queen Elizabeth II, for whom Churchill was reportedly her favorite prime minister. The funeral itself was watched by 350 million people on television.

After his death on January 24, the Queen sent his wife Clementine Churchill a letter saying "The whole world is the poorer by the loss of his many-sided genius while the survival of this country and the sister nations of the Commonwealth, in the face of the greatest danger that has ever threatened them, will be a perpetual memorial to his leadership, his vision and indomitable courage".

Vast numbers of dignitaries attended the funeral, including wartime colleagues Dwight D. Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle as well as several past British prime ministers.

Photo Info


Photographer: Unknown
Date taken: January 30, 1965
Location taken: London, England, United Kingdom

Source: International Churchill Society

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