Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough

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

Birthplace: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Death: Died in Woodstock Hotel, London, England
Place of Burial: Blenheim Chapel at Woodstock
Immediate Family:

Son of George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough and Albertha, Marchioness of Blandford
Husband of Gladys Marie Deacon
Ex-husband of Consuelo Balsan
Father of John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough; Ivor Charles Spencer-Churchill and <private> Spencer-Churchill
Brother of Frances Louisa Spencer-Churchill; Lillian Maude Spencer-Churchill and Norah Beatrice Henriette Spencer-Churchill
Half brother of Guy Bertrand

Managed by: Geoffrey David Trowbridge
Last Updated:

About Charles 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."



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 6 November 1895. The marriage was a mercenary one. Inheriting his near-bankrupt dukedom in 1892, he was forced to find a quick and drastic solution to the financial problems of his family. Prevented by the strict social dictates of late 19th-century society from earning money, he was left with one solution; to marry money. The marriage was celebrated following lengthy negotiations with her divorced parents: her mother, Alva Vanderbilt, was desperate to see her daughter a duchess, and the bride's father, William Vanderbilt, paid for the privilege. The final price was $2,500,000 (worth about $62m in 2007) in 50,000 shares of the capital stock of the Beech Creek Railway Company with a minimum 4% dividend guaranteed by the New York Central Railroad Company. The couple were given a further annual income each of $100,000 for life. The bride later claimed she had been locked in her room until she agreed to the marriage. The contract was actually signed in the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, immediately after the wedding vows had been made. In the carriage leaving the church, Marlborough told Consuelo he loved another woman, and would never return to America, as he "despised anything that was not British".[this quote needs a citation]

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, as 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.[citation needed] The 9th Duke employed noted landscape gardener Achille Duchêne to create the water garden on the terrace at Blenheim.[12]

However, Consuelo was far from happy; she records many of her problems in her cynical and often less than candid biography The Glitter and the Gold. In 1906 she shocked society and left her husband. The couple were divorced in 1921 and the marriage was annulled by the Vatican five years later.[1] She subsequently married a Frenchman, Jacques Balsan. She died in 1964, having lived to see her son become Duke of Marlborough, and frequently returning to Blenheim, the house she had hated and yet saved, albeit as the unwilling sacrifice.[13]

Marlborough married secondly Gladys Deacon, also an American, on 25 June 1921 in Paris. Later in their unhappy, childless marriage, she kept a revolver in her bedroom to prevent her husband's entry.[14] The couple separated but never divorced.

The 9th Duke converted to Roman Catholicism late in life.[15]

He was styled as Earl of Sunderland between 1871 and 1883.1 He was styled as Marquess of Blandford between 1883 and 1892.1 He was educated in 1884 at Winchester College, Winchester, Hampshire, England.1 He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.1 He succeeded to the title of 13th Baron Spencer of Wormleighton [E., 1603] on 9 November 1892. He succeeded to the title of 9th Earl of Marlborough, co. Wilts [E., 1689] on 9 November 1892. He succeeded to the title of 9th Duke of Marlborough [E., 1702] on 9 November 1892.1 He succeeded to the title of 9th Baron Churchill of Sandridge, co. Hertford [E., 1685] on 9 November 1892. He succeeded to the title of 9th Marquess of Blandford [E., 1702] on 9 November 1892. He succeeded to the title of 11th Earl of Sunderland [E., 1643] on 9 November 1892. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) on 2 February 1894.1 He held the office of Paymaster-General (Conservative) between 1899 and 1902.1 He gained the rank of Staff Captain in 1900 in the service of the Imperial Yeomanry, South Africa, serving as Assistant Military Secretary to Lord Roberts.1 He fought in the Boer War in 1900, where he was mentioned in despatches.2 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) on 30 May 1902.1 He held the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Colonies between 1903 and 1905.1 He held the office of Mayor of Woodstock between 1907 and 1908.2 He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1914 in the service of the General Staff.1 He fought in the First World War between 1914 and 1918.1 He held the office of Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Board of Agriculture and Fisheries between 1917 and 1918.2 His marriage to Consuelo Vanderbilt was annulled on 19 August 1926 by the Vatican.2 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

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

November 13, 1871
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
June 21, 1872
at St. James's Palace, Chapel Royal, St. James's, London, England
Age 20
Blenheim - the Master "Sunny" Earl of Sunderland
September 18, 1897
Age 25
London, Middlesex, England
October 14, 1898
Age 26
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England
June 30, 1934
Age 62
Woodstock Hotel, London, England