London: Keystone Press Agency Ltd., 14 July 1960. Photograph. This original press photograph shows Sir Winston S. Churchill boarding the Christina, Aristotle Onassis’s yacht, on 13 July 1960. This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. The image measures 10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.3 cm) on glossy photo paper. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp and clean with only some light cockling along the left edge and original crop markings. This image features original, hand-applied retouching of Churchill’s face, hands, and clothes. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Keystone Press Agency Ltd.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph from 14 July 1960, handwritten printing notations, and a clipping of the caption as it was printed in the newspaper. The original caption reads: “Sir Winston being given a helping hand as he went aboard the yacht, which left yesterday for the Jugoslav port of Split.”
Churchill first met Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975), then one of the world’s richest men, at a dinner party at La Pausa in January of 1956. Of this first meeting, Churchill wrote to his wife, “[Onassis] told me a lot about whales. He kissed my hand!” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, 1174). One month later, Churchill would board the Christina for the first time and was met with “a swarm of photographers and newsmen [who] were there to get their pictures and file their stories, touching off the legend of a remarkable friendship”. (Ibid., 1180) It was on the Christina in 1958 that Churchill first met John F. Kennedy, whose widow Onassis would marry a decade later. Churchill’s regard for Onassis was such that Onassis would become a member of Churchill’s beloved Other Club. Churchill would ultimately take eight substantial cruises aboard Christina.
Of this particular cruise, Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, records “On July 10 he [Churchill] flew to Venice, to return to the calm comfort of Christina. It had been intended to cruise in the Baltic, and for Churchill and his wife to visit Leningrad, which she had seen and so admired in 1945. But the announcement on May 5 that an American spy plane, the U2, had been brought down over the Soviet Union, and the consequent break-up on May 16 of the Kruschev-Eisenhower Summit in Paris, made such a destination impolitic. Instead, on July 14, Churchill and his wife were at the Adriatic port of Split, where they went ashore to visit President Tito.” Churchill had not seen Tito since the latter’s state visit to London in 1953 and it is recorded that “their conversation was concerned principally with war-time memories”. Churchill’s advancing age and increasing physical infirmity is manifestly evident in this photograph. More than five years earlier, on 5 April 1955, Churchill had resigned his second and final premiership at the age of 80.
During the last decade of his long life, Churchill passed "into a living national memorial" of the time he had lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he had served. Less than 10 years later, Churchill suffered a stroke from which he would never recover. The day after Churchill died, on 25 January 1965, the Queen sent a message to Parliament announcing: "Confident in the support of Parliament for the due acknowledgement of our debt of gratitude and in thanksgiving for the life and example of a national hero" and concluded "I have directed that Sir Winston's body shall lie in State in Westminster Hall and that thereafter the funeral service shall be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.” Churchill's state funeral was attended by the Queen herself, other members of the royal family, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and representatives of 112 countries. It was the first time in a century that a British monarch attended a commoner’s funeral. Item #005404