About Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill, arguably the greatest parliamentarian this country has ever seen, was born at Blenheim Palace on the 30th November 1874 at 1.30am. Typical of his later impatience, he had arrived several weeks early. Blenheim may never have been Churchill’s home, for the estate and family title passed to his cousin, the 9th Duke (a lifelong friend always known as ‘Sunny’), but for five years in the 1890’s Churchill was heir presumptive to the dukedom, and it was always where his roots remained. His birth room is on view to visitors and is set west of the Great Hall in the suite of apartments once allotted to the 1st Duke of Marlborough’s domestic Chaplain.
When he was asked whether, just before his birth, his mother, Lady Randolph, was attending a ball in the Long Library or was out with a shooting-party in the park, he replied 'Although present on that occasion, I have no clear recollection of the events leading up to it.’
It was during the summer of 1908, in the gardens of Blenheim at the Temple of Diana overlooking the lake, that Mr Winston Churchill, as he was then, proposed to Miss Clementine Hozier, who was to become his devoted wife.
On 12 September 1908, he married Clementine Ogilvy Spencer. Some didn't give his marriage to Clementine more than six months, yet it lasted 56 years. Her tact, support and advice soothed his temper, and helped win the war.
In the Churchill Exhibition, near the birth room, can be seen Oscar Nemon’s bronze of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill as well as Sir Winston’s painting of the Great Hall at Blenheim.
Other interesting exhibits include several of his lively letters, a superb collection of first day covers commemorating Sir Winston Churchill and many fascinating photographs of this great man at Blenheim Palace.
At one time during his early life, and before the birth of the 10th Duke, Sir Winston Churchill was heir to the Dukedom. But, as an article by the 10th Duke in the Weekend Telegraph on the 9th September 1966 said, “much as Winston cared for Blenheim, it would not have appealed to him to go down in history as its owner, he had other and better ideas”.
Sir Winston Churchill did have other and better ideas, but his love of Blenheim remained to his dying day and when he passed away in 1965, he chose to be buried beside his parents Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill, in the churchyard at Bladon the tower of which, may be seen from the Saloon in Blenheim Palace. When Lady Churchill died in 1977, her remains were laid to rest beside those of her husband, as they would both have wished.
'Churchills' Destiny - the story of two great war leaders' exhibition is open in the stables highlighting the fascinating parallel lives of Sir Winston Churchill and his much admired ancestor the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
Next door, the Indoor Cinema is showing films and documentaries filmed at Blenheim Palace.