Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough (1871 - 1934) MP

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Birthplace: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Death: Died in Woodstock Hotel, London, England
Managed by: Geoffrey David Trowbridge
Last Updated:

About Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough

Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough KG, PC (13 November 1871 – 30 June 1934), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1883 and Marquess of Blandford between 1883 and 1892, was a British soldier and Conservative politician. He was often known as "Sunny" Marlborough after his courtesy title of Earl of Sunderland.

Born at Simla, India, Marlborough was the only son of George Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough, and Lady Albertha Frances Anne, daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn. He was a nephew of Lord Randolph Churchill and a first cousin of Winston Churchill. He was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Marlborough entered the House of Lords on the early death of his father in 1892 and made his maiden speech in August 1895.[2] In 1899 he was appointed Paymaster-General by Lord Salisbury, a post he held until 1902, and was then Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies under Arthur Balfour between 1903 and 1905.[1] He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1899.[3] He again held political office during the First World War when he was Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries between 1917 and 1918 in David Lloyd George's coalition government.[1] He made his last speech in the House of Lords in December 1931.[2]

Marlborough was also Lord High Steward at the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, Mayor of Woodstock between 1907 and 1908 and Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire between 1915 and 1934.[1] In 1902 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Marlborough was an officer in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars and fought in the Second Boer War as a Staff Captain in the Imperial Yeomanry and as Assistant Military Secretary to Lord Roberts. and was mentioned in despatches. He returned to active service in the First World War where he served as a Lieutenant-Colonel on the General Staff.

Marlborough was married twice. His first wife was the American railroad heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, whom he married at Saint Thomas Church in New York City, on November 6, 1895. They had two sons, John Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford, eventually the 10th Duke of Marlborough, and Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill. (Their mother famously referred to them as "the heir and the spare.") The Vanderbilt dowry was used to restore Blenheim Palace, and replenish its furnishings and library; many of the original contents had been sold over the course of the 19th century. Many of the jewels worn by subsequent Duchesses of Marlborough also date from this period. The 9th Duke employed the landscape gardener Achille Duchene to create the water garden on the terrace Blenheim.[citation needed] However, the couple were divorced in 1921 and the marriage was annulled by the Vatican five years later. [1]

Marlbrough then married another American, Gladys Marie Deacon, in 1921. She was a daughter of Edward Parker Deacon and the former Florence Baldwin.[1] Artistic and a keen gardener, she had enlarged images of her startling blue/green eyes painted on the ceiling of the main portico of Blenheim Palace, where they remain today. Later in their unhappy, childless marriage, she dined with her husband keeping a revolver by the side of her plate. The couple separated but never divorced.[citation needed]

At the time of his death, the duke reportedly was negotiating to enter a Catholic religious order in Italy, having converted to that religion late in life.

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Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough's Timeline

1871
November 13, 1871
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
1872
June 21, 1872
at St. James's Palace, Chapel Royal, St. James's, London, England
1892
1892
Age 20
Blenheim - the Master "Sunny" Earl of Sunderland
1896
November 6, 1896
Age 24
St Thomas Church 5th Ave. New York
1897
September 18, 1897
Age 25
London, Middlesex, England
1898
October 14, 1898
Age 26
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England
1921
June 25, 1921
Age 49
Church of St. Genevieve at Paris (cousins)
1934
June 30, 1934
Age 62
Woodstock Hotel, London, England
July 1934
Age 62
Blenheim Chapel at Woodstock