Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace has long been on my list of sites I’ve wanted to visit during my time in England. We finally made it there back in November.

One of the biggest homes in England and the only non-royal, non-church related house in the country to hold the title of Palace it’s a spectacular building. It’s situated on some beautiful land too.

It’s kind of an odd building in that it is part private home and part monument. The land and money to build the house were granted to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, by Queen Anne as a gift for leading forces to victory over the French in the War of Spanish Succession. The family still has to pay rent to the Monarch in the form of a copy of a French royal flag every year. The flags are displayed at Windsor Castle.

As a reminder of the victory over the French, there is a 30-ton bust of Louis XIV looted from Tournai on the top of the palace.

The palace is still occupied by the current Duke of Marlborough and his family. The family history is fascinating there, too. For instance the 9th Duke married Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress, whose money was very helpful in saving the dukedom from bankruptcy and restoring the palace to its intended glory. The story of this house is very similar to the Downton Abbey story — with the American heiress, and its use as a hospital during the war. Though Consuelo’s story was a sad one.

Of significant note is that the palace is the birthplace of Winston Churchill a member of the Spencer-Churchill family. Also, Diana, Princess of Wales, stems from the Spencer line of the family.

Churchill Painting

The house is spectacular. Unfortunately, they had a modern art exhibition going on throughout the building, which meant that lots of the rooms were rudely interrupted with out-of-place artwork. Their argument was that modern art becomes traditional art. The old art the home is decorated with was once considered disruptive and ugly itself. I would have none of that. I just knew it ruined my pictures. Like this big wad of newspaper in the bottom right of this picture.

Whatever.

It was definitely worth the visit. It reminded me that I should keep my goal of becoming an eccentric, wealthy country man. I’ve been practicing my pose for Country Life magazine.

Now more pictures.

//Blake

 

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