Violet Attlee, Countess Attlee

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The Right Honourable
The Countess Attlee
Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
In office
26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Preceded by Clementine Churchill
Succeeded by Clementine Churchill
Personal details
Born Violet Helen Millar
(1895-11-20)20 November 1895
Hampstead, London, England
Died 7 June 1964(1964-06-07) (aged 68)
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Clement Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee (m. 192264)
Children Lady Janet Shipton
Lady Felicity Harwood
Martin Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee
Lady Alison Davis

Violet Helen Attlee, Countess Attlee (née Millar; 20 November 1895 – 7 June 1964) was the English wife of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Helen Millar was born in Hampstead as the tenth child and youngest daughter of Henry Edward Millar, a prosperous businessman. Her early education took place in Hampstead before she went to Saint Felix School, a boarding school in Southwold and she worked as a VAD throughout World War I. In the summer of 1921, she went with her mother to Italy; joining them on the trip were her brother Cedric and a former Oxford friend, Clement Attlee. Within a few weeks of their return they became engaged and were married at Christ Church, Hampstead on 10 January 1922. Theirs would be a devoted marriage. Their four children were Lady Janet Helen (born 1923), Lady Felicity Ann (1925–2007), Martin Richard (1927–1991) and Lady Alison Elizabeth (born 1930).

A kind, unassuming woman who was not, by her own admission, "a political wife", Countess Attlee assisted in personal matters, for instance arranging annual Boxing Day parties at Chequers for the children of her husband's ministerial colleagues. She was constantly at Clement's side at party conferences, at innumerable gatherings overseas, and in the detailed chores of his political career, despite being a lifelong Tory voter.[1] She acted as his regular driver during postwar elections.

In August 1950, she joined London's Civil Defence Corps. Since 1915 she had had considerable experience with the British Red Cross Society, having led a detachment for a number of years.

Frequently in poor health, Attlee took ill suddenly and was admitted to Amersham Hospital on 7 June 1964. Seven hours later, she died of a cerebral haemorrhage. With her were her husband, son, second daughter, and the latter's husband.

Having been married to her for 42 years, Clement Attlee outlived her by three years.

Shorthand titles

  • Miss Violet Millar (20 November 1895 – 10 January 1922)
  • Mrs Clement Attlee (10 January 1922 – 16 December 1955)
  • The Rt Hon. The Countess Attlee (16 December 1955 – 7 June 1964)


Honorary titles
Preceded by
Clementine Churchill
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Clementine Churchill