The Honorable Arthur Winston Nicholas Soames was born in Croydon and is a grandson of the British wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, the son of Lord and Lady Soames, a nephew of the former Defence Secretary Duncan Sandys, Diana Churchill, the journalist Randolph Churchill and the actress and dancer Sarah Churchill, and a great-nephew of the founders of the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell. His brother is the industrialist Rupert Soames. Simon Hoggart, writing in the Guardian, relates an anecdote of Soames’ childhood: ‘He gave me the true version of what I had always suspected was an apocryphal story. In or around 1953, when Soames was five, he didn’t know how important his grandfather was until someone told him. So he walked up to the old man’s bedroom, managed to get past the valets and the secretaries, and found him sitting up in bed. “Is it true, grandpapa, that you are the greatest man in the world?” he asked. “Yes I am,” said Churchill. “Now bugger off.”‘
Soames has been married twice. His first marriage (4 June 1981 – 1988) was to Catherine Weatherall (the sister of Isobel Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne), by whom he has one son, Harry Soames.
Prince Charles was the best man at Soames’ first wedding on 4 June 1981 at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, and attended with Lady Diana Spencer as his guest, just over a month before their own wedding. Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother also attended. Clemmie Hambro, Sir Winston Churchill’s great-grandaughter, was a flower girl in Lady Diana’s wedding, and is seen above right in the news clipping.
He married, secondly, Serena Smith, above, (a niece of the Duchess of Grafton) on 21 December 1993. They have a daughter, Isabella, and a son, Christopher.
In 1970 he was named Equerry to HRH The Prince of Wales and he has remained a close friend of the Prince ever since. He publicly criticised Diana, Princess of Wales, during the couple’s estrangement. When Diana first accused the Prince of Wales of adultery with Camilla Parker Bowles, Soames told the BBC that the accusation, and Diana’s fear of being slandered by her husband’s courtiers, stemmed merely from Diana’s mental illness, and “the advanced stages of paranoia”.
Charles later admitted his adultery and Soames apologised. When questioned by the inquest into the death of Diana, Soames said that he saw his job as “to speak up for the Prince of Wales”. He denied threatening Diana, and warning her, “accidents happen” in the months before she died.