The story of the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
A courageous leader in battle, John Churchill's victories over Louis XIV forever changed the face of Europe and led to the building of Blenheim Palace and him gaining the title of the Duke of Marlborough, both gifted from Queen Anne.
At a time when marriages were often no more than business transactions to increase power and wealth, John Churchill chose to marry his wife Sarah for love.
In 2022 we'll be celebrating the Duke's life, family and achievements with interactive displays, tours, battle re-enactments, and other activities for all the family. Step back in time to the Palace of the 1700s and marvel at the exquisite clothing, food, games, and music that the 1st Duke and his Duchess would have loved.
After a less than illustrious beginning (he was once imprisoned in the Tower of London) the Duke rose to dizzying heights in the court of Queen Anne with his beautiful, strong willed wife Sarah by his side, only to be plotted and schemed against and eventually exiled abroad until a change of monarch made it safe for him to return to his homeland.
Come to Blenheim Palace from this April to learn about the Duke's life. Wander through the Palace state rooms to find out more and absorb the history of the Palace, and experience the thrill of battle in a re-enactment (find out more on our events page). Visit our exhibition, where you'll find:
With talks and tours, themed Afternoon Teas, activities, and more, there’s something at Blenheim Palace for everyone this year.
Our Battlefields and Baroque exhibition is sponsored by Bicester Village.
Join us this year to celebrate the life and achievements of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.
Find out more about the 1st Duke
With special thanks to Sandy Powell for the loan of these costumes from her personal archive.
‘new…with echoes of the old…’
…is how Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell describes the exquisite and innovative costumes worn by the cast of the 2018 film, The Favourite.
Sandy not only created the costumes for the leading characters including Duchess Sarah (Rachel Weisz), Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) and John Churchill (Mark Gatiss) but also dressed the characters below stairs.
Working with The Favourite’s unconventional script called for unconventional costumes and rather than use the silks, satins and highly embroidered fabrics favoured by 18th century aristocracy, Sandy clothed her characters in monochrome cottons above stairs - and in denim sourced from local charity shops below stairs!