The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson's personal copies of the Order of Service and Ceremonial to be Observed for the January 1965 state funeral of Sir Winston S. Churchill. One of a very small number of specially bound copies for members of the Royal Family, the Churchill family and only the highest ranking diplomats. Two volumes. Full black morocco stamped in gilt with the Arms of the Dukes of Marlborough to the upper boards (and the St. Paul's Cathedral crest to the lower board of the Order of Service), in the original plastic sleeves. Fine copies. With the original official invitation headed "State Funeral / At St. Paul's Cathedral / The Earl Marshal has it in Command / from The Queen to invite" underneath is inscribed "The Right Honourable The Prime Minister and Mrs Harold Wilson". Circular blind stamp of the Earl Marshal to the lower right corner. The invitation has some creasing and a short closed tear to the upper edge and some rust marks from the paperclip which held the acceptance form and envelope when issued. Loosely laid in to the Order of Service is the House of Lords business card of The Rt. Hon. The Lord Wilson of Rievaulx and an autograph letter on Blenheim Palace note paper thanking Lord Wilson for agreeing to pay the tribute to Sir Winston at the  Churchill Memorial Concert.
In 1953 Winston Churchill suffered his first stroke, leading the young, newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II to make it known that she wished him to receive a state funeral, an honour usually reserved for monarchs, and which has been given to only a handful of commoners. The plans for Churchill's funeral (secretly referred to as "Operation Hope Not") were designed that same year, and were revised many times during the twelve years that he survived, up until his death on the 24th of January 1965. As of 2019 it is the most recent state funeral in British history. The funeral was a vast, grand affair, consisting of a procession through the streets of London after Churchill's body had laid in state in Westminster Hall for three days, a service at St Paul's Cathedral, a military fly by, and a river launch. The Queen had instructed that it should be "on a scale befitting his position in history", and, being supported by 575 officers, 6508 other ranks (numbers not seen since the Duke of Wellington's state funeral in 1852), nine military bands, and being attended by thousands (and viewed on television worldwide by millions), it surely succeeded. Churchill's wife, Clementine, declared that "it wasn't a funeral, it was a triumph!". Alongside their more numerous, card stock counterparts, The Queen's stationary office produced a small number of morocco bound presentation copies of The Order of Service of the funeral, which contains the hymns and readings that were sung and recited at the service, and the Ceremonial to be Observed, which details the proceedings of the funeral and lists the troops and individuals making up the procession. These special editions were reserved for the Royal Family, the Churchill family, and high ranking diplomats; this one in particular having been given to the then British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, who, in his speech to parliament following Churchill's death, stated that "there can be no doubt of the massive, oaken stature that history will accord to him". These monumental association copies, along with a letter on headed paper inviting Harold Wilson and his wife to Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on behalf of The Queen and embossed with the stamp of the Earl Marshal of England offer a unique and poignant glimpse into the history of Great Britain and two hugely significant British Prime Ministers.
Stock code: 16089