Churchill thrown out of England
NB: When reading this, please be aware that Edward VII (1841-1910) was also know as Bertie,
not to be confused with Bertie Thomas.
During Bertie's (Edward VII) last weeks in India an unfortunate incident occurred in England that would damage Bertie's (Edward VII) prestige again. Lord Aylesford, one of Bertie's friends, had accompanied him on his trip to India. During his absence, his wife, Lady Aylesford, a young, sybaritic, spoiled and dissolute woman, was involved in a love affair with Lord Blandford, the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Marlborough. Bertie had innocently flirted with Lady Aylesford some years before and he had written her some foolish letters. When Lord Aylesford learned of his wife's adultery, he, supported by Bertie, who said Blandford was "the greatest rabble alive", threatened to divorce his wife.
But Blandford's younger brother, Lord Randolph Churchill, decided to avoid Aylesford at any price, since it could cause the ruin of his family. Churchill, accompanied by Lady Aylesford, paid a visit to the Princess of Wales and , with little respect for her royal rank, threatened her saying that if Lord Aylesford began a divorce process, he would summon the Prince of Wales to declare before a court and would publish the letters written by Bertie to Lady Aylesford, a matter that could prevent the Prince from succession to the throne.
Alix was astonished and didn't know what to do. She went to see the Queen, who was infuriated with Churchill's blackmail and for having involved the Princess in such disagreeable matter. Bertie for his part, while sailing on the Serapis on his way home, had learned of Churchill's attempt of blackmail; he was also told that Lord Randolph was accusing him of having invited Lord Aylesford to India so that his wife could be free to attend her adventure with Blandford.
Bertie was infuriated and challenged Churchill to duel. But Lord Randolph rejected the challenge writing an insulting letter to the Prince. By April 1876 the news of the scandal had spread all around London.
When Bertie and Aylesford arrived, the latter publicly declared, on May 12, he was not to divorce his wife. Later on they separated quietly. Churchill sent Bertie a brief note of apology which the Prince rejected. Instead he declared that he and Alix would never set foot again in the house of anyone who offered hospitality to Lord Randolph or his wife. The Churchills fled to the United States on an enforced holiday. Bertie's dispute with Lord Randolph would last eight years more, although Bertie had accepted a more complete apology he himself prepared.
Bertie's quarrel with Lord Randolph Churchill had ended in 1884 and they re-established their old friendship. Alix was glad to be a friend again of Lord Randolph's wife, Jeannie Jerome, for whom she felt sympathy and admiration. Churchill's political career developed quickly; in 1885 he became leader of the House of Commons and later on he became Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Salisbury's ministry. During this time, he kept Bertie well informed about the private management of the Cabinet and passed him copies of official confidential papers. It was the first time the Prince had access to Government affairs. Lord Randolph also guided the Prince in all important speeches he had to pronounce.
NB: Bertie Thomas was born in July of 1885.
Lord Randolph resigned to the Exchequer when he tried to introduce some reforms that were not supported by the Conservative Party. He thought he would pressure the party by resigning, but unexpectedly for him, Lord Salisbury accepted his resignation that meant a shock for him. For 1890, Lord Randolph was completely retired from his political career. During six years Bertie tried to convince his friend to return to policy, but it was in vain. The Wales's and the Churchills continued with their friendship; Bertie and Alix supported Jeannie Churchill throughout the decline in Lord Randolph's health , caused probably by an excess of drug consumption in order to balance his nervous system. He died on January 24, 1895 when he was 45 years of age.
Jennie took lovers; one estimate was that she had two hundred. Society did not doubt that one conquest was Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Jennie did not flaunt her lovers and Randolph -- who had no choice -- accepted them, although on one occasion he ran the Prince of Wales out of his house and on another he attacked one of her companions with his fists. The couple took long, separate vacations. . . . When Winston was seven, his mother spent time on the Irish estate of Colonel John Strange Jocelyn, a famous horseman. Jennie became pregnant, and when the child was born named it John Strange Churchill. . . Winston's only brother, Jack.