Fact Check: Clementine Churchill Did NOT Say Her Road-Cleaner Ex Would Have Been Prime Minister If She Had Married Him

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Clementine Churchill Did NOT Say Her Road-Cleaner Ex Would Have Been Prime Minister If She Had Married Him Fake Quote

Did Clementine Churchill, wife of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, tell him that if she had married a road cleaner that man would have become the prime minister? No, that's not true: There is no evidence that she said that. A historian who specializes in the Churchills wrote that the quote was manufactured. A Google search of keywords resulted in very similar quotes being attributed to two former U.S. first ladies, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on April 3, 2022. It opens:

Sir Winston with his wife Clementine.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-04-05 at 12.27.10 PM.png

Facebook screenshot(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Apr 5 17:39:27 2022 UTC)

The post continued:

One day, as they were walking down the street, the famous episode happened:

Clementine talked to a road cleaner.

'What the heck were you saying with him so long;' Sir Winston asked her.

'Oh many years ago he was madly in love with me', she responded.

Churchill smiled ironically. 'Did you see, my dear? You could have been the wife of a road cleaner today'.

'Oh no, my dear', she replied, spouting the one-million dollar line: 'If I had married him, he would have been prime minister today'. πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Richard Langworth, a historian specializing in Churchill, wrote on his website that the quote was manufactured without attribution.

Typing the phrase "if I would have married him quote" in Google resulted in a Pinterest link that attributed a very similar quote to former first lady Michelle Obama as well.

Screen Shot 2022-04-06 at 11.24.52 AM.png

(Source: Pinterest screenshot taken on Wed Apr 6 15:39:35 2022 UTC)

A slightly different quote was also attributed to Hillary Clinton in a Sydney Morning Herald article from May 29, 2020.

The Obama and Clinton quotes are slightly different from the quote attributed to Clementine Churchill. Michelle Obama supposedly speaks to a restaurant owner, while Hillary Clinton speaks to a gas station worker.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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