John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

Birthplace: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 16, 2014 (88)
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough and Alexandra Mary Hilda Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Susan Mary Gough; Tina, Marchioness of Blandford and Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
Father of John Spencer-Churchill, Earl of Sunderland; Private; Private; Private; Private and 1 other
Brother of Lady Sarah Roubanis (Spencer-Churchill); Lady Caroline Waterhouse (Spencer-Churchill); Lady Rosemary Mildred Muir (Spencer-Churchill); Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill and Private

Managed by: Col Timothy Riordan Stones
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough,_11th_Duke_of_...

  • married Susan Mary Hornby 19 Oct 1951, divorced 1961
  • married Athena Livanos 23 Oct 1961, divorced 1971
  • married Dagmar Rosita Douglas 20 May 1972

John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, JP, DL (13 April 1926 – 16 October 2014) was the son of John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough, and his wife, the Hon. Alexandra Mary Hilda Cadogan.

He was a relative of the Duke of Devonshire and a generational cousin of the war-time Conservative Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. He was also a distant relative of Diana, Princess of Wales, as both belonged to the Spencer family, and of the Vanderbilt family through his paternal grandmother, Consuelo Vanderbilt.

His principal seat was Blenheim Palace, in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He was ranked 224th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2004, with an estimated wealth of £185 million. His death was announced on 16 October 2014 by Blenheim Palace.

Life and work

He was educated at Eton College and served seven years in the Life Guards, in which he achieved the rank of Captain. In 1972, on inheriting the Dukedom of Marlborough, he took over the management of Blenheim Palace and the Blenheim estate.

In order to fund the maintenance of the house, he opened it to visitors and as a film set, and established a number of businesses, including a garden furniture company and a water bottling plant.

He was also active in a range of organisations, including the Thames and Chilterns Tourist Board and Oxford United Football Club. He served as Vice President of Witney Conservatives, the local party of David Cameron.

Personal life

Marlborough was married four times and had a total of six children, two of whom died in infancy.

Firstly he married Susan Mary Hornby, daughter of Michael Charles St John Hornby and Nicolette Joan Ward, on 19 October 1951. They divorced in 1961 after having three children:

John David Ivor Spencer-Churchill, Earl of Sunderland (born 17 November 1952, died 14 May 1955), a god-son of Princess Margaret

Charles James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough (born 24 November 1955)

Lady Henrietta Mary Spencer-Churchill (born 7 October 1958)

Secondly, on 23 October 1961 he married Athina Onassis, née Livanos, former wife of Aristotle Onassis, and daughter of Stavros Livanos. They were divorced in 1971 and had no children.

Thirdly, on 20 May 1972 he married Countess Rosita Douglas-Stjernorp, daughter of ambassador Count Carl Douglas-Stjernorp and Ottora Haas-Heye. They had three children and were divorced on 15 May 2008:

Lord Richard Spencer-Churchill (born & died 1973)

Lord Edward Albert Charles Spencer-Churchill (born 1974)

Lady Alexandra Elizabeth Spencer-Churchill (born 1977)

Finally, Marlborough married Lily Mahtani, née Sahni (born c. 1957 in Iran), on 3 December 2008 in the Private Chapel at Blenheim. She was formerly the wife of Ratan Mahtani, a wealthy Indian expatriate businessman, by whom she had three children. There were no children from this marriage.

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John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough's Timeline

April 13, 1926
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
November 17, 1952