Lady Randolph Churchill (9 January 1854 – 29 June 1921), born Jeanette Jerome, was the American-born wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and the mother of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The daughter of Leonard Jerome, a prominent New York financier and his wife Clarissa, who was herself the daughter of a landowner and state assemblyman. Rumour had it that Jennie was named after the Swedish soprano Jennie Lind. The dark-haired, doe-eyed Jennie was one of the most notable and fashionable beauties of her day and her goings-on were anxiously followed by those interested in society gossip.
It was at Cowes in 1873 that Jennie met the man who would change her life, Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill, the second son of the Duke of Marlborough. Randolph was 24 at the time and three days after they met, they were engaged which was a scandal not only for the short amount of time they had known each other but because Randolph had asked Jennie before talking it over with his parents or asking her mother.
It was for her first marriage that she is primarily remembered. In 1874, Jennie Jerome wed Lord Randolph Churchill, becoming the titled "Lady Randolph Churchill". Her greatest claim to lasting fame, however, is that one of the two sons she bore her husband turned out to be Winston Churchill. Jennie was definitely a "remote" type of mother, common in society women of that time, but her son Winston had tremendous affection for her.
Jennie was in the forerunner of the Buccaneers, those American women who came to England and married titles. Around the time of her marriage, two other American women had made grand matches, including Consuelo Yznaga (who Edith Wharton immortalized as Conchita Closson in The Buccaneers) and Minne Stevens, who married a good friend of the Prince of Wales, Sir Arthur Henry Fitzroy Paget.
Even Randolph's brother wasn't immune, after his divorce, he later married the rich American widow, Lily Hammersly, and his son, Sunny (9th Duke of Marlborough), in 1895 married Consuelo Vanderbilt, bringing much needed money to Blenheim Palace for the desperate renovations required.