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The Papers of Lady Soames

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MCHL

Scope and Contents

Includes: research material for books on the Churchill family, including originals and copies of family correspondence, particularly MS's own correspondence with her mother; personal and office diaries; papers relating to MS's time with her husband in Paris and Rhodesia; correspondence; photographs, both relating to MS's own career, and those which she collected as source material for her books on the Churchill family; speeches; papers relating to visits and lectures undertaken by MS on behalf of the Churchill Centre and International Churchill Society; papers on other Churchill-related organisations with which MS was involved; papers relating to the National Theatre; audio-visual material, including wartime footage of Churchill, documentaries about him, and interviews and events with MS herself; the personal papers of Maryott Whyte, MS's nanny.


  • Creation: 1828 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Churchill was born on 15 September 1922, the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill and Clementine Spencer-Churchill (née Hozier). She was educated privately, and married [Arthur] Christopher Soames in 1947, with whom she had three sons and two daughters.

During the war, Mary worked for the Red Cross and the Women's Voluntary Service, 1939-41, and the Auxiliary Territorial Service, 1941-6, with whom she served in London, Belgium and Germany. She also accompanied her father as aide-de-camp on a number of official overseas trips, including to the Potsdam Conference, 1945.

She accompanied her husband to Paris [France] where he was Ambassador, 1968-72; to Brussels [Belgium] where he was Vice President of the European Commission, 1973-6; and to Southern Rhodesia [later Zimbabwe] where he was the last British Governor, December 1979-April 1980.

She was Chairman of the Royal National Theatre Board, 1989-95, and Chairman of Trustees of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, 1991-2002. She became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1980, and a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter, 2005. Her other honours include: Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, 1983; Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, 1995; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, 2000; and received the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom Medal, 2005.

Mary Soames died on 31 May 2014.

She was a prolific writer and her publications include: "Clementine Churchill by Her Daughter" (1979 and 2002); "A Churchill Family Album" (1982); "The Profligate Duke" (1987); "Winston Churchill: His Life as a Painter" (1990); "Speaking for Themselves" (1998); and "A Daughter's Tale" (2011).


236 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this finding aid are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and on the Janus website

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Lady Soames and her family in various accessions between 2014 and 2023.

Related Materials

See also Mary Soames Associated Material, GBR 0014 MCHL AS and Christopher Soames's papers, GBR 0014 SOAM, as well as numerous other collections at the Archives Centre relating to the Churchill family.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges and Katharine Thomson, March 2014. Biographical information was obtained from the website of Who's Who and Wikipedia. The collection was catalogued by Katharine Thomson between 2014 and 2018.


Soames, Mary, 1922-2014, Lady Soames, née Churchill, writer

2014-03-11 14:56:10+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087