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On the evening of December 24, 1894, the twenty-year old Winston Churchill was at Dover to meet his father and mother, Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill, on their hurried return to England from their around the world tour that had begun six months earlier. His parents and their party, which included Dr. George Keith and Lord Wimborne, crossed from Calais aboard the steamer Empress. Lord Randolph Churchill was very ill, being according to his son “as weak and helpless in mind and body as a little child.” The Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, Lady Wimborne, and Lord and Lady Curzon were also present to meet Lord and Lady Churchill. The group then traveled by a special saloon car attached to the boat train to Victoria Station, London, arriving at half-past seven, and then went to Lord Randolph’s mother’s London residence at Grosvenor Square. A representative of the Press Association called at the house that night but was unable to see the doctor and instead saw Winston Churchill and Lord Curzon. Churchill told the press representative that his father’s journey from Cairo to Marseilles had been “terribly rough” but suggested hopefully that “a few days’ complete rest would make a very considerable difference.” Lord Randolph died on January 24, 1895 at the age of 45 after having, as his son later wrote, “lingered pitifully” for a month.

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