John Albert Edward William Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough, was born 18 September 1897 in London, England, United Kingdom to Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough (1871-1934) and Consuelo Vanderbilt (1877-1964) and died 11 March 1972 Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Alexandra Mary Hilda Cadogan (1900-1961) 17 February 1920 in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, England, United Kingdom. He married Frances Laura Charteris (1915-1990) 26 January 1972 in Caxton Hall, Westminster, England, United Kingdom.

John Albert Edward William Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough, DL (18 September 1897 – 11 March 1972), styled Marquess of Blandford until 1934, was a British military officer and peer.

Dukedom of Marlborough

Arms of Churchill

Duke of Marlborough is a title of English Peerage created by Queen Anne in 1702 for John Churchill the noted military leader. The name of the dukedom refers to Marlborough in Wiltshire. A good number of their descendants have married into many of the other noble hours of England.

The title Marquess of Blandford is used as the courtesy title for the Duke's eldest son and heir. The Duke's eldest son's eldest son can use the courtesy title Earl of Sunderland, and the duke's eldest son's eldest son's eldest son (not necessarily the eldest great-grandson) the title Lord Spencer of Wormleighton (not to be confused with Earl Spencer).

Blenheim Palace

Exterior of a large English Baroque palace fronted by lawns

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, built between 1705 and 1722 for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), is the principal residence for the family of the Duke of Marlborough. It is one of England's largest homes, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and is the final resting place of several members of the family.

Early life

Portrait of John Spencer-Churchill with his parents and younger brother, by John Singer Sargent, 1905.

He was born in London on 18 September 1897 as the first of two sons born to Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife, the former Consuelo Vanderbilt, an American railroad heiress.[1] His younger brother was Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill who joined the Royal Army Service Corps and fought in the First World War.[2] His parents separated in 1906 and divorced in 1921. Later that year his mother remarried to Lt. Col. Jacques Balsan, a French balloon, aircraft, and hydroplane pilot,[3] and his father remarried the French American Gladys Deacon.[4][5]

His paternal grandparents were George Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife, Lady Albertha Hamilton (a daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn and Lady Louisa Russell).[6]

His mother was the eldest child, and only daughter, of William Kissam Vanderbilt, a New York railroad millionaire, and the former Alva Erskine Smith. They divorced in 1895; she married his friend Oliver Belmont and he married the widow Anna Harriman.[7] His maternal uncles were William Kissam Vanderbilt II and Harold Stirling Vanderbilt.

Marlborough was educated at Eton before joining the Life Guards.[8]


Prior to inheriting the dukedom in 1934, he was a lieutenant-colonel in the Life Guards, and served with distinction in France and Belgium during World War I. After the war, he served as Mayor of Woodstock from 1937 to 1942, where Blenheim is located. His wife served as the first woman mayor of Woodstock.[9] He also served as High Steward of Oxford in 1937.[10] He enlisted during World War II and was a military liaison officer with the United States forces in Britain.[8]

In 1950, the Duke opened the grounds and many rooms of Blenheim Palace (including the bedroom in which Sir Winston Churchill was born) to the public to help defray the cost of upkeep.[11] Today, he is known as one of the originators of the "stately homes" business.[8]


The grave of the 10th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife at St Martin's Church, Bladon.

John Albert is the only Duke of Marlborough to be buried outside of Blenheim Palace.

Personal life

1st Marriage: Alexandra Cadogan

On 17 February 1920, he was married to the Hon. Alexandra Mary Cadogan (1900–1961) at a ceremony at St Margaret's Church in London attended by King George V and Queen Mary.[12] As a wedding gift, his maternal grandfather gave him a house in London.[12] She was a daughter of Henry Cadogan, Viscount Chelsea, the son and heir of George Henry Cadogan, 5th Earl Cadogan.[9] Together, they had two sons and three daughters:

  • Lady Sarah Consuelo Spencer-Churchill (1921–2000),[13] who married Edwin Fariman Russell (1914–2001) in Westminster in 1943. They divorced in Reno, Nevada in 1966 and she married Guy Burgos Ossa the same year. They divorced in 1967 in Mexico and she married thirdly to Theo Roubanis in Philadelphia in 1967.[14]
  • Lady Caroline Spencer-Churchill (1923–1992),[15] who married Major Charles Huguenot Waterhouse (1918–2007) of Middleton Hall, Middleton-by-Youlgreave in Woodstock, Oxfordshire in 1946.[16]
  • John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough (1926–2014), who married four times.[17][18][19]
  • Lady Rosemary Mildred Spencer-Churchill (b. 1929), a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, she married Charles Robert Muir (d. 1972) at Oxford in 1953.[20]
  • Lord Charles George William Colin Spencer-Churchill (1940–2016), who married Gillian Spreckels Fuller (b. 1946), a great-granddaughter of California industrialist and financier John D. Spreckels, in 1965.[21][22] They divorced in 1968,[23] and in 1970 he married Elizabeth Jane Wyndham (b. 1948), a great-niece of the interior decorator Nancy Lancaster.[24]

Second marriage

Six weeks before his death, on 26 January 1972, the Duke married his second wife, (Frances) Laura (née Charteris) Canfield (1915–1990), the widow of the American publishing heir Michael Temple Canfield (whose first wife had been Caroline Lee Bouvier, the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). Laura Canfield was the second daughter of the Hon. Guy Lawrence Charteris (the second son of Hugo Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss and Lady Frances Lucy Tennant). Laura's older sister, Ann Geraldine Mary Charteris, was married to the novelist Ian Fleming. Laura herself was previously married to and divorced from Walter Long, 2nd Viscount Long and William Ward, 3rd Earl of Dudley.[25]

The Duke died at a hospital in London on 11 March 1972,[8] and was succeeded by his son John Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford.[10] He and his first wife are buried in the churchyard of St Martin's Church, Bladon.


Offspring of John Albert Edward William Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough and Alexandra Mary Hilda Cadogan (1900-1961)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Sarah Consuelo Spencer-Churchill (1921-2000) 17 December 1921 Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom 13 October 2000 England, United Kingdom Edwin Fariman Russell (1914-2001) Guillermo Burgos Osso (1921-2001) Edwin Fariman Russell (1914-2001) Guillermo Burgos Osso (1921-2001) Theo Roubanis (c1941)
Caroline Spencer-Churchill (1923-1992) 1923 Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom 25 January 1992 England, United Kingdom Charles Hugonet Waterhouse (1918-2007)
John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough (1926-2014) 13 April 1926 Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom 17 October 2014 Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom Susan Mary Hornby (1929-2005) Athina Mary Niarchos (1929-1974) Dagmar Rosita Astrid Libertas (1943) Susan Mary Hornby (1929-2005) Athina Mary Niarchos (1929-1974) Dagmar Rosita Astrid Libertas (1943) Lily Mahtani (1954-)
Rosemary Mildred Spencer-Churchill (1929-) 24 July 1929 Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom Charles Robert Muir (1922-1972)
Charles George William Colin Spencer-Churchill (1940-2016) 13 July 1940 London, England, United Kingdom 21 December 2016 Gillian Spreckels (1946) Gillian Spreckels (1946) Elizabeth Jane Wyndham (1948)



See also


  1. ^ "Mrs. Balsan Dies; Former Vanderhill". The New York Times. 7 December 1964. 
  2. ^ Times, Special To The New York (18 September 1956). "LORD IVOR CHURCHILL, 57; Patron of Modern Art, a Noted Collector, Dies in London". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "JACQUES BALSAN, AVIATION PIONEER; French Flier Is Dead at 88-- War Pilot Set Records in Balloons and Planes Volunteer in Morocco". The New York Times. 6 November 1956. 
  4. ^ "MARLBOROUGH WILL WED GLADYS DEACON; Dukes Engagement to Former Friend of His Ex-Wife Announced in London.BRIDE-TO-BE WELL KNOWNHas Several Times Been Reported Engaged to Marry Members of European Nobility.". The New York Times. 2 June 1921. 
  5. ^ Apple Jr, R. W. (18 October 1977). "Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, Friend of Proust, Degas and Rilke". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "MARLBOROUGH DIES; NINTH DUKE OF LINE; Marriage in 1895 to Consuelo Vanderbilt, Then 17, Was Widely Discussed. OWNED BLENHEIM ESTATE Soldier and an Active Figure in Public Affairs -- His Heir Has Dairy Produce Shop.". The New York Times. 1 July 1934. 
  7. ^ Stuart, Amanda Mackenzie, Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and Mother in the Gilded Age, Harper Perennial, 2005, ISBN 978-0-06-093825-3, p. 69
  8. ^ a b c d "Duke of Marlborough Is Dead; Master of Blenheim Palace, 74". The New York Times. 12 March 1972. 
  9. ^ a b "Duchess of Marlborough Dies; Often Was Hostess to the Queen". The New York Times. 24 May 1961. 
  10. ^ a b "Marlborough, Duke of (E, 1702)". Heraldic Media Limited.. 
  11. ^ Leonard, John (24 September 1950). "Stately Showmen; British nobles are turning their palaces into museums.". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ a b "KING AND QUEEN AT BLANDFORD NUPTIAL; Marquis, Son of Duchess of Marlborough, Marries the Honorable Mary Cadogan IN ST. MARGARET'S CHURCH Bridegroom Is a Grandson of Wm. K. Vanderbilt, Sr., Who Gave Him a London House as Present.". The New York Times. 18 February 1920. 
  13. ^ "Marchioness of Blandford's Infant Daughter Christened". 
  14. ^ Pace, Eric (19 October 2000). "Lady Sarah Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, 78, Dies". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Lady Caroline Waterhouse (née Spencer-Churchill)". 
  16. ^ TIMES, Special to THE NEW YORK (6 December 1946). "MARLBOROUGH KIN IS WED; Lady Caroline Spencer-Churchill Bride of Maj. Hugo Waterhouse". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ "Duke of Marlborough dies". Blenheim Palace. 
  18. ^ "BLANDFORD TO MARRY; Marquess, Friend of Princess, to Wed Miss Susan Hornby". The New York Times. 20 June 1951. 
  19. ^ Ehrlich, Phyllis A. (1 June 1972). "Swedish Countess Bride Of Duke of Marlborough". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Churchill's Cousin Wed to Broker". The New York Times. 27 June 1953. 
  21. ^ "Marlborough's 2d Son Fiance of Gillian Fuller". The New York Times. 25 April 1965. 
  22. ^ Times, Special to The New York (24 July 1965). "London Wedding For the 2d Son 0u Marlborough; Miss Gilllan Fuller Is His Bride in a Small, Informal Ceremony". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Times, Special to The New York (29 February 1968). "Lady Spencer-Churchill Divorced". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ Thomas Jr, Robert Mcg (27 February 1972). "Lady With a Famous Name Takes a Fling at Modeling". The New York Times. 
  25. ^ "Marlborough to Marry Mrs. Canfield". The New York Times. 19 January 1972. 

External links

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Charles Spencer-Churchill
Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
John Spencer-Churchill

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General