Firm Friends - or a Marriage of Political Convenience? They Were Britain's Two Great Wartime Leaders Whose Friendship Helped Them Overcome Bitter Political Rivalry. Now Rare Books for Sale with Inscriptions from Winston Churchill to David Lloyd George Seem to Bear Testimony to Their Friendship. or Do They? Darren Devine Reports

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 15, 2011 | Go to article overview

Firm Friends - or a Marriage of Political Convenience? They Were Britain's Two Great Wartime Leaders Whose Friendship Helped Them Overcome Bitter Political Rivalry. Now Rare Books for Sale with Inscriptions from Winston Churchill to David Lloyd George Seem to Bear Testimony to Their Friendship. or Do They? Darren Devine Reports


THEIRS was a relationship with very modern echoes. Like David Cameron and Nick Clegg, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill were driven together by political convenience. But years later, after decades when periods of rapprochement followed feuding driven by mutual ambition, the pair would speak publicly of the genuine friendship that survived their disputes.

And inscriptions in first editions of Marlborough: His Life and Times, a biography of John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, seem to suggest there was more to their relationship than convenience.

The book was written in four volumes by the Second World War leader, who was a descendant of the duke.

All four, published between 1933 and 1938, contain inscriptions for Welshman Lloyd George from Churchill, written 20 years after their relationship first began to sour.

Though little more than perfunctory, experts at Christie's - where the books are expected to sell later this month for around $35,000 - say they reveal the closeness between the two men.

In 1938, First World War leader Lloyd George described their relationship as "the longest friendship in British politics".

And after Lloyd George's death Churchill said: "Our intimate and agreeable companionship was never darkened... by any serious spell of even political hostility."

But despite the warm words some experts believe hostility only gave way to friendship when both saw benefit in keeping a lid on the enmity.

Dr Richard Toye, author of Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, suggests each man only really cultivated the other's friendship to climb politics' greasy pole.

He said: "Although there were these protestations of affections the relationship was not as easy or friendly as both of them liked to make out.

"They had serious political fallings out, with Churchill at one point saying the relationship was over."

Britain's wartime leaders first met in the bar of the House of Commons after Churchill made his maiden speech in 1901.

At the time Churchill was a Tory, but three years later, when he crossed the floor of the Commons to join the Liberals, the relationship began to blossom.

But in 1914 their friendship began to fracture when Churchill was serving as First Lord of the Admiralty while Lloyd George was Chancellor.

Churchill wanted more spent on building warships, but was opposed by Lloyd George.

The relationship fell apart when Churchill was forced out of his job after the failure of the Dardanelles Campaign between 1914 and 1915 to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople and secure a sea route to Russia. …

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Firm Friends - or a Marriage of Political Convenience? They Were Britain's Two Great Wartime Leaders Whose Friendship Helped Them Overcome Bitter Political Rivalry. Now Rare Books for Sale with Inscriptions from Winston Churchill to David Lloyd George Seem to Bear Testimony to Their Friendship. or Do They? Darren Devine Reports
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