Yet controversy and conflict seethed around the Palace from its very start, thanks to two strong-minded women: Sarah, the wilful first Duchess of Marlborough, who wanted a home fit for a hero, and Queen Anne, who envisaged a glorious monument to England herself and a palace to rival Versailles. As a palace and monument, Blenheim is spectacularly successful. It is one of the finest examples of English Baroque architecture, decorated and furnished to an equally lavish standard, housing works of art from all over Europe. Blenheim, which attracts around half a million visitors from all over the world each year, is one of Britain´s most magnificent houses – as George III enviously remarked ‘we have nothing to equal this.’ But the real story of Blenheim lies with the Spencer-Churchill family, who have lived in it for the past 300 years, and theirs is a story as turbulent, fascinating and momentous as the conflicts that surrounded its origins. The first book about Blenheim ever written by one of the Spencer-Churchill family, Blenheim and the Churchill Family is filled with anecdotes, gossip, and intrigue, tracing the story of a glamorous dynasty from 1700 to modern times. This is the inside story, pieced together from the family archives, showing how the personalities of each Duke and Duchess influenced the progress of the great house through the centuries.
Henrietta Spencer-Churchill is the daughter of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and spent her childhood surrounded by the exquisite architecture of Blenheim Palace. She lives in London and Woodstock, and runs the highly successful interiors company Woodstock Designs. She is the author of eight books, including Georgian Style and Design (ISBN 978-1-908862-29-7), also available from CICO. The author is based in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.