Prince of Wales joins VIPs at memorial for Lady Soames

Sir Nicholas Soames talks to Michael Howard following a service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of his mother Lady Soames, at Westminster Abbey

Sir Nicholas Soames talks to Michael Howard following a service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of his mother Lady Soames, at Westminster Abbey

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall joined the family and friends of Lady Mary Soames at Westminster Abbey for a memorial service for the youngest and last surviving child of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major read a passage from the Book of John at the service and said afterwards he had “very fond remembrances” of Lady Soames, who died in May at the age of 91.

Family members, including one of her three sons, the Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames, also gave readings.

More than 1,000 people filled the Abbey yesterday to pay tribute including Queen guitarist Brian May and former Conservative Ministers Lord Heseltine and Lord Hurd.

Also present at the service was journalist and historian Max Hastings, who described her as “a worthy daughter of the greatest Englishman.”

Attendees at the service sang a number of rousing hymns, which included the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

It ended more patriotically with God Save the Queen.

William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, gave the address, describing a formidable but generous and family-oriented woman, who smoked cigars and had a strong sense of public duty.

“She created and she leaves a completely united and happy family,” Mr Shawcross said.

During the Second World War Lady Soames was one of the first women in the country to enlist in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

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