John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough
The 11th Duke has devoted his life to the preservation of the Palace. He has had a difficult task of balancing the needs of the modern day visitor with the necessity of maintaining a World Heritage site. He said that ‘Although the Battle of Blenheim was won in 1704 the Battle for Blenheim continues in the unceasing struggle to maintain the structure of the building and to obtain the finance for the future.’
He has introduced the Pleasure Gardens, Butterfly House, the Railway, the Maze, the adventure playground and the Churchill Exhibition in the Palace. The 11th Duke restored his father’s private gardens in 2004 as part of the tercentenary celebrations of the Battle of Blenheim. These gardens are very popular with the visitors. The Churchill Destiny Exhibition in the stables was created in 2005 as part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Churchill’s death. The Park has hosted music concerts, craft fairs, major sporting and charity events during the Duke's lifetime. In 2006 the Duke had his 80th Birthday. He invited the people of Oxfordshire who were also 80 in the same year to come to a tea party. Five hundred guests attended and the weather was kind enough to let the event take place on the lawns outside.