Mary Soames, Baroness Soames

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Mary Soames (Spencer-Churchill), Baroness Soames

Birthplace: Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, England
Death: May 31, 2014 (91)
London, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill
Wife of Christopher Soames, Baron Soames
Mother of Sir Nicholas Soames; Private; Private; Private and Rupert Christopher Soames
Sister of Diana Churchill; Randolph Churchill; Sarah Millicent Hermione Spencer Churchill, Baroness Audley and Marigold Frances Spencer-Churchill

Managed by: Vance Barrett Mathis
Last Updated:

About Mary Soames, Baroness Soames

Mary Soames, Lady Soames, LG, DBE, FRSL (née Spencer-Churchill; 15 September 1922 – 31 May 2014) was the youngest of the five children of Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine. She was the wife of Christopher Soames.




[S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 2, page 1869. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.

[S300] Michael Rhodes, "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 8 February. Hereinafter cited as "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection."

Mary Spencer-Churchill was raised at Chartwell and educated at the Manor House at Limpsfield. She worked for the Red Cross and the Women's Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1941[2] with whom she served in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain). She also accompanied her father as aide-de-camp on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.

She served many public organisations, such as the International Churchill Society, as a Patron; Church Army and Churchill Houses; and chaired the Royal National Theatre Board of Trustees between 1989 and 1995.[3] She was Patron of the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged.

A successful author, Lady Soames wrote an acclaimed biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, in 1979. She offered insights into the Churchill family to various biographers, prominently including Sir Martin Gilbert, who became the authorised biographer of Sir Winston Churchill after the death of Churchill's son, Randolph, in 1968. Additionally, she published a book of letters between Sir Winston and Lady Churchill, editing the letters as well as providing bridging material that placed the letters in personal, family, and historical context.

One of her more notable public appearances came on 29 April 2002 when she dined with the Queen at Buckingham Palace as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, alongside Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the four surviving former prime ministers at the time, as well as several relatives of other deceased prime ministers.

Lady Soames was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her public service, particularly in Rhodesia. She was appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter on 23 April 2005, and was invested on 13 June at Windsor Castle.

On 31 May 2014, Lady Soames died at her home in London at the age of 91 following a short illness. Her ashes are buried next to those of her husband within the Churchill plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Six months after her death, on 17 December 2014, Sotheby's London auctioned 255 items out of her collection on behalf of her heirs, including paintings by and memorabilia attached to her father, Winston S. Churchill. The sale far exceeded pre-auction estimates.

Family Mary Soames married the Conservative politician Christopher Soames (later created Baron Soames) in 1947 and they had five children:

The Rt. Hon. Sir Nicholas Soames (12 February 1948). He married Catherine N. Weatherall on 4 June 1981 and they were divorced in 1988. They have one son. He remarried Serena Mary Smith on 21 December 1993. They have two children, a son and a daughter. The Hon. Emma Mary Soames (6 September 1949). She married James MacManus on 4 July 1981 and they were divorced in 1989. The Hon. Jeremy Bernard Soames (25 May 1952). He married Susanna Keith in 1978. They have three children. The Hon. Charlotte Clementine Soames (17 July 1954). She married Richard Hambro in 1973 and they were divorced in 1982. They have one daughter. She remarried William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel on 15 April 1989. They have one daughter. The Hon. Rupert Christopher Soames (18 May 1959). He married Camilla Rose Dunne in 1988. They have three children.

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Mary Soames, Baroness Soames's Timeline

September 15, 1922
Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, England
February 12, 1948
Croydon, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
May 18, 1959
Croydon, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
May 31, 2014
Age 91
London, England