"This is a War": Winston Churchill's granddaughter on coronavirus crisis

9 May 2020, 13:18

By Seán Hickey

The morning after the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe, coronavirus has proved to make this year's commemoration all the more important.

Celia Sandys is the granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill and she spoke about VE day, her grandfather and how he would have reacted to a crisis on the scale of coronavirus. Matt Frei pointed out to Ms Sandys that the pandemic response has been compared heavily to the war effort and wanted to know what Sir Winston would "have made of today's crisis."

Ms Sandys pulled no punches in outlining that "this is a war, a silent and unseen enemy" and a lot of similarities can be drawn from WWII when speaking about coronavirus.

As part of an at-risk category, Ms Sandys told Matt that not only people her age, but "we're all frightened we might catch this virus" and it is proven to be an enemy that reaches widely in its impact.

Jokingly, Matt asked "how do you think he would have dealt with self isolation" to which Ms Sandys told LBC listeners that she doesn't think her grandfather would have coped very well in shielding.

The granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill compared WWII to the coronavirus pandemic
The granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill compared WWII to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: PA

Matt moved on by assuing Ms Sandys was "moved by celebrations on VE day" and asked how she felt to have the images of her grandfather all over the country.

She insisted that it was "wonderful to hear from veterans" and "people who were able to celebrate that night in the streets" but went on to say it was a "great pity" that celebrations couldn't be on par on the 75th anniversary because of the current pandemic.

Moving onto a more delicate subject, Matt wanted to know more about the wartime Prime Minister's final days. Ms Sandys recalled a time of uncertainty as she was often called on during his final days to false alarms of his condition deteriorating. She remembered that the "day that we went there definitely wasn't a false alarm" as he passed away.

"For many it was the end of an era and he was a focal point for our family" she said. Ms Sandys added that "it was nice to be able to spend some time with the man that the whole world thought they owned."

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