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Winston Churchill in Madeira

 

Not many visitors to Madeira know that the Island was a special retreat for Winston Churchill. Even fewer know he wrote one of his first short stories on and inspired by Madeira !
Like so many other British aristocrats before him and up to this day, Madeira has always been the reviled destination to go to. And the Reid's Palace Hotel the accommodation of choice. Although the tourists of distinction that had prevailed during much of the 20th century have become less apparent today the Island is still a refuge, a place of reflection, a new point of departure, a twist in the road, for many celebrities, politicians, and other well known figures. We can recall, for example, the ousted government leaders of Cuba by Fidel Castro, Empress Sissi of Austria, Emperor Karl I of Austria - Karl von Hapsburg (also known as Charles IV of Hungary), or George Bernard Shaw, and so on.

In the vein of the grand visitors to Madeira we take a retrospective look at Winston Churchill, the man, the traveller, the writer, from the particular point of view of his relationship to and with Madeira. We also include, in full, a copy of the short story he wrote with Madeira as a background, Mr. Keegan's Elopement, for your reading pleasure.


"You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her. She was made to be wooed and won by youth."

(Roving Commission:
My Early Life - 1930)

The Man

Winston Churchill was born in 1874 at Blenheim Palace, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, to Lord Randolph and Lady Churchill (Jennie Jerome). During his infancy and his school years it was noted that he was not very academically inclined...
Even his father stated that he had a "stupid" son (this after Churchill only succeeded entering a military school on his third attempt). An interesting contradiction to the opinion many people today have of the illustrious politician, journalist, militarist, and voyager. In 1898 Churchill had his first book published and was to produce many more literary works, amongst others "Mr. Keegan`s Elopement" - his first short story inspired by the island of Madeira.


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