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At 2:30 on the afternoon of Monday, January 25, 1965, the day following Winston Churchill’s death, the House of Commons met to pay tribute in a brief session that was called, “moving in its simplicity.” The chamber was crowded with only one space left empty. This was the seat on the front bench, below the gangway, where Churchill had sat for many years. In the gallery for the session were two of Churchill’s children, Sarah and Mary, along with two of his grandchildren, Celia Sandys and Winston Churchill. The occasion began with the Speaker, Sir Harry Hylton-Foster, reading in a voice shaking slightly with emotion a message from Queen Elizabeth in which she informed the House that she had directed that Churchill lie in state at Westminster Hall and thereafter would follow a state funeral at St. Paul’s. Prime Minister Harold Wilson then moved a motion, which was agreed to by the House, of concurrence with the directive. Four speeches paying tribute were then made by Wilson, Conservative leader Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Liberal leader Jo Grimond, and Conservative parliamentarian Robin Turton, who spoke as he was the longest serving backbencher. The commons adjourned at 18 minutes after three. In the House of Lords that afternoon tributes were also paid, including one by Earl Attlee who, speaking with emotion, said, “We have lost the greatest Englishmen of our time.” Legislatures and assemblies in other cities acknowledged the death of Churchill, including the United States House of Representatives and the Greek parliament which passed resolutions of condolence and the Malawi parliament and United Nations General Assembly which observed minutes of silence. On the day after Churchill’s death, newspapers around the world were dominated by the news and detailed accounts of his life. The Times of London, which usually carried classified advertisements on its first page and not news, broke with tradition and devoted the first page of its edition on January 25th to a photograph of Churchill and the start of the obituary. That edition also included a 16-page supplement on Churchill’s life. One of the few exceptions to the detailed press coverage was the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, which reported the death with one brief paragraph near the bottom of the back page.

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