Granddaughter of Winston Churchill speaks at Bass Lecture Hall


Fabian Fernandez

Cecilia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill, speaks about the life of her grandfather and his leadership skills at the LBJ school on Monday afternoon. Sandys believes her grandfather’s influence and principles of leadership are still relevant today as they were in 1940.

Nicole Cobler

Sixty eight years after the close of World War II, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter said she believes his life and leadership skills are still valuable. 

Celia Sandys, his granddaughter, spoke in Bass Lecture Hall on Monday to tell stories of Churchill as a private and public figure.

Churchill, who was prime minister of Great Britain from 1940-45 and an influential world leader during World War II, is well-known for his famous speech, “The Sinews of Peace,” better known as the Iron Curtain Speech, given in Missouri in 1946. In the speech, Churchill acknowledged the divide between capitalist and communist countries: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”

Sandys said her grandfather’s influence demonstrates the power speeches have in determining public morale.

“It was during the second World War that my grandfather’s words really came to their own,” Sandys said. “Their impact was more powerful than any weapons … I believe his principles of leadership are as relevant today as they were in 1940 and are an inspiration to anyone in any field who aspires to lead.”

Beyond discussing his accomplishments as a political figure, Sandys also talked about Churchill as a private man and relayed her experience with him as her grandfather. She said she thought Churchill enjoyed being around his grandchildren because they did not see him as a political leader.

Psychology freshman Cesar Prieto attended Sandys’ lecture because he wanted to learn more about Churchill.

“The biggest thing for me about this lecture was seeing how Churchill was not only a great leader but also the type of person we should all aspire to be,” Prieto said.

Prieto said he was interested in reading Churchill’s books after attending the lecture.

“I think there’s the kind of education you get from books and the kind of education you get from real life,” Prieto said. “If you mix both of those you get a sense of what the real world is like.”

Among students and professors was the youngest audience member and “Churchill-buff,” fourth-grader Coley Cowden and his mother Heidi Cowden. 

Nine-year-old Coley Cowden chose to report on Churchill for his biography report at Regents School of Austin last year and has read several of Churchill’s books.

“He has a really good style of writing that I enjoy,” Coley Cowden said. “He finds a very good balance of not making it action-packed but at the same time is interesting.”