The Life and Times of Harold Macmillan

The Life and Times of Harold Macmillan

Cheltenham College hosted the Great Britons Foundation lecture on Harold Macmillan, who was Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963. Known as ‘Supermac’ for his pragmatism, wit, and unflappability, he presided over a time of prosperity and easing of Cold War tensions. He is perhaps best known for distancing the UK from apartheid, speeding up the process of decolonization and for his involvement in negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Prestigious guests attended, such as the Air Chief Marshal Michael Graydon and also Alex Chalk MP, however, the evening was focused around the lecture given by the Earl of Stockton, Alexander Macmillan, Harold Macmillan's grandson. The Earl offered a deeply personal account of Macmillan himself. He was a charismatic speaker with an admirable ability for impressions and accents, making his various anecdotes most enjoyable. As a member of the audience who only knows of public figures such as Margaret Thatcher or Jackie Kennedy from history books, it was extremely interesting to here from a man who had met these people first hand. The Earl, for example, was present during Macmillan's negotiations of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but he focused more on the personal decisions and motivations of Macmillan. Overall, everyone who attended was left with not only a greater understanding of Harold Macmillan's career but also deeper knowledge of the great public figure's private life. Everyone at College is grateful for being able to attend such a relevant and insightful event.

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