Granddaughter of Winston Churchill
Arabella Spencer-Churchill, 58, the unconventional granddaughter of Britain’s wartime prime minister and a founder of the Glastonbury rock festival, died Thursday at her home in Glastonbury, England, said her husband, Ian McLeod. She had pancreatic cancer.
Born Oct. 31, 1949, Spencer-Churchill was the daughter of Winston Churchill’s son, Randolph, and June Osborne.
A free spirit in one of Britain’s grandest families, she lived in the 1970s as a London squatter, running a low-cost restaurant for fellow squatters.
“I was no good at being a Churchill,” she said earlier this year. “People never saw me for me. It doesn’t do a lot for your confidence.”
In 1971, she caused a sensation when she declined to represent Britain at a NATO festival in the U.S. She wrote organizers: “My grandfather used the phrase ‘the Iron Curtain’. . . . What is facing us . . . is the final curtain. The defense systems of the great powers are mutually infectious.”
She also helped found the renowned Glastonbury performing arts festival in the early 1970s and remained involved with the event.
It drew 153,000 people this year and featured Coldplay and other contemporary music acts.
The same day she died, her son, Nicholas Jake Barton, was sentenced to three years in prison in Australia for his part in an Ecstasy drug racket.