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On December 21, 1891, Churchill traveled to France where he was to spend the holidays in an effort to improve his command of the French language. Then a 17 year old Harrow schoolboy, he had been “utterly miserable” about the prospect of spending the Christmas holidays in France and for weeks had bombarded his mother with letters of bitter protest. Lady Randolph, however, held firm. That morning, Churchill departed for France, accompanied by Bernard Jules Minssen, the French tutor at Harrow. They traveled 2nd class via Dieppe and at nine o’clock that evening reached Versailles where Churchill was to spend the holidays with Minssen’s parents at 18 Rue de Provence. Immediately upon his arrival Churchill sent a telegram of “Arrived safe. Good Passage” to his nanny Mrs. Everest. After dinner, he went for a walk and saw a great many French soldiers as well as visited the Grand Trianon, a magnificent palace originally built for Louis XIV.

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