James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough

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The Duke of Marlborough
A portrait from 1989
Tenure 16 October 2014 – present
PredecessorJohn, 11th Duke of Marlborough
Full name
Charles James Spencer-Churchill
Other titlesEarl of Sunderland (1955–1972)
Marquess of Blandford (1972–2014)
Born (1955-11-24) 24 November 1955 (age 68)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
ResidenceBlenheim Palace
Rebecca Few Brown
(m. 1990; div. 1998)
(m. 2002; sep. 2024)
IssueGeorge Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford
Lady Araminta Spencer-Churchill
Lord Caspar Spencer-Churchill
HeirGeorge, Marquess of Blandford
FatherJohn, 11th Duke of Marlborough
MotherSusan Mary Hornby

Charles James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough (born 24 November 1955), styled Earl of Sunderland until March 1972 and Marquess of Blandford until October 2014, and often known as Jamie Blandford or Jamie Marlborough, is a British peer and the current Duke of Marlborough.

He is the eldest surviving son of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife, Susan Mary Hornby. As a member of the Spencer family, he is a distant relative of the war-time Conservative Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and of Diana, Princess of Wales, born Lady Diana Spencer. He is also a stepbrother of the late Christina Onassis, who was the stepdaughter of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who was once married to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, by the second marriage of his father with Athina Livanos. He is also a descendant of the prominent American Vanderbilt family through his great-grandmother Consuelo Vanderbilt.


Born in Oxford,[1] he was educated at Harrow School[2] and the Royal Agricultural College.[3] In a bid to safeguard the Blenheim Palace estate from the then Marquess's excessive behaviour, his father won a court battle in 1994 to ensure he never won control of the family seat, but their relationship may have improved later.[4]

Tatler reports that in the 1990s, the Happy Mondays' lead singer Shaun Ryder remarked "If I was born into dough, I'd have done nothing forever. Like Jamie Blandford. He's fuckin' cool. I'd definitely produce his record."[5]

In 1995, he spent a month in prison for forging prescriptions.[6] In September 2007, he was sentenced to six months in jail on two counts of dangerous driving and one of criminal damage following a "road rage" attack on another motorist's car.[7] At the same time, he was banned from driving for three and a half years.[8] In 2013, he was accused by a Sikh cab driver of abusing the driver with racist language.[9]

In 2021, seven years after having succeeded to the Dukedom of Marlborough, he successfully stood for election to Woodstock Town Council.[10][11]

In 2022, Spencer-Churchill was taken to court by Porsche Financial Services for "refusing or failing to pay the outstanding £64,472.70 balance on the Cayenne E-hybrid Turbo S model he bought in July 2018."[12]


On the death of his father in 2014, the Oxford Mail noted the new duke's "well-publicised drug addiction" and reported that a spokesman for Blenheim Palace had said "the Palace will remain under the control of trustees", but that the 12th Duke could himself become one of the trustees.[13] The Daily Telegraph reported that "The responsibility of maintaining one of Britain's grandest country houses for future generations now passes to 58-year-old Jamie Blandford, as he is commonly known, following a remarkable turnaround in his relationship with his late father, who once described him as the 'black sheep' of his family."[14]

Television appearance[edit]

On 24 June 2009, he appeared in a BBC Television documentary, Famous, Rich and Homeless, in which famous people were filmed spending three nights in the open with nothing but a sleeping bag, though he refused to "sleep rough". He claimed that on the first night he slept in the car park of a five-star hotel, though his sleeping bag was discovered unopened, and on the second night he demanded to be housed in a hotel. He refused to participate further despite giving an assurance that he would sleep rough on the third night, and ended his participation on that night. Another participant, Hardeep Singh Kohli, said that Blandford's behaviour was "disrespectful to all the people out there".[15]

Marriages and issue[edit]

His first wife was Rebecca Mary Few Brown (born September 1957, Bangor, Wales). They were married on 24 February 1990 at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Woodstock. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1998. They had one son, who is now heir apparent to the Dukedom of Marlborough:

His second wife is Edla Griffiths (born 1968, Abergavenny, Wales), whom he married at Woodstock Register Office on 1 March 2002. They are separated. They have two children.


Coat of arms of James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough
1817 by the 5th Duke of Marlborough
The coronet of a duke
Princely hat of the Holy Roman Empire (above the double-headed eagle)
1st: a lion couchant guardant Argent supporting a banner Gules charged with a dexter hand couped Argent (Churchill)
2nd: out of a ducal coronet Or a griffin's head between two wings expanded Argent gorged with a collar gemel and armed Gules (Spencer)
Quarterly: 1 and 4th, Sable a lion rampant Argent, on a canton of the second a cross Gules (Churchill); 2 and 3rd, quarterly Argent and Gules a fret Or, over all on a bend Sable three Escallops of the first (Spencer); over all in the centre chief point (as an augmentation of honour) an escutcheon Argent charged with the cross of Saint George surmounted by an inescutcheon Azure charged with three fleurs-de-lys Or, two over one
On either side, a wyvern wings elevated Gules and behind, the Imperial eagle of the Holy Roman Empire


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  2. ^ Nicholas Wroe (28 August 2009). "A Life in Writing". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. ^ Emma Brockes (10 December 2002). "Cream of the crop". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Duke of Marlborough dies at 88". The Guardian. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  5. ^ "From devil to duke – Jamie Blandford". Tatler. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Marquess of Blandford admits 'road rage'". The Daily Telegraph. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  7. ^ "'Road Rage' Marquess Sent to Jail". BBC News. 10 September 2007.
  8. ^ "Blandford sent back to prison over road-rage attack on driver". The Independent. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  9. ^ Roy, Amit (2 April 2015). "Empire strikes back at 'racist' aristocrat". The Telegraph -. Calcutta. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2021 – via web.archive.org.
  10. ^ "Candidate Nominations for Town and Parish Council Elections within West Oxfordshire on Thursday 6 May 2021" (PDF). West Oxfordshire District Council. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Election of Town Councillors for the Town of Woodstock on Thursday 6 May 2021" (PDF). West Oxfordshire District Council. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Duke of Marlborough faces repossession of Porsche after failing to keep up payments". Driving.co.uk from The Sunday Times. 14 September 2022. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  13. ^ Ffrench, A. (17 October 2014). "Son inherits 12th Duke of Marlborough title but Blenheim Palace stays with trustees". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  14. ^ Raynor, G. "Former drug addict and ex-convict Jamie Blandford becomes 12th Duke of Marlborough after father dies". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  15. ^ "TV review: Famous, Rich and Homeless (BBC One) – Nasa – Triumph and Tragedy (BBC Two)". The Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2009. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009.
Peerage of England
Preceded by Duke of Marlborough
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
The Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by