James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough
The Duke of Marlborough
1989 portrait by Allan Warren
|Preceded by||The 11th Duke of Marlborough|
Charles James Spencer-Churchill|
24 November 1955
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Rebecca Few Brown
(m. 1990; div. 1998)
George, Marquess of Blandford|
Lady Araminta Spencer-Churchill
Lord Caspar Spencer-Churchill
The 11th Duke of Marlborough|
Susan Mary Hornby
Charles James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough (born 24 November 1955), styled the Marquess of Blandford until 2014 and often known as Jamie Blandford or Jamie Marlborough, is a British aristocrat, 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 (the first cousin of his great-grandfather The 9th Duke of Marlborough). He is also a stepbrother of Christina Onassis by the second marriage of his father with Athina Livanos.
Born in Oxford, Marlborough was educated at Harrow School and the Royal Agricultural College. 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.
In 1995, he spent a month in prison for forging prescriptions. 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. At the same time, he was banned from driving for three and a half years.
On the death of his father in 2014, the Daily Mail reported that he would inherit the title and quoted a spokeswoman for Blenheim Palace, who said "it was 'too early to say' if he will chose (sic) to live in the palace, which is open to the public." The newspaper also noted that, "Though Jamie is now in overall charge of the estate, perhaps mindful of his son's troubled history, the late Duke had insisted the board of trustees should have this power of veto".
However, the Oxford Mail reported that "A palace spokesman declined to comment on whether the 12th Duke – who had a well-publicised drug addiction – [would] inherit his family's residence, but it is understood he could become a trustee of the companies that run it." The Oxford Mail further stated that "[Blenheim] Palace will remain under the control of trustees as the late Duke of Marlborough's heir – Jamie Spencer-Churchill – inherited his father's title." On the other hand, 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."
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".
Marriages and issue
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:
- George John Godolphin Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford (born 28 July 1992), who went by the courtesy title Earl of Sunderland until his father's accession to the dukedom in 2014
His second wife is Edla Griffiths (born 1968, Abergavenny, Wales), whom he married at Woodstock Register Office on 1 March 2002. They have two children:
- Lady Araminta Clementine Megan Spencer-Churchill (born 8 April 2007)
- Lord Caspar Sasha Ivor Spencer-Churchill (born 18 October 2008)
Lord Caspar Spencer-Churchill is second in the line of succession to the Dukedom of Marlborough.
Titles and styles
- 24 November 1955 – 11 March 1972: Earl of Sunderland
- 11 March 1972 – 16 October 2014: Marquess of Blandford
- 16 October 2014 – present: His Grace The Duke of Marlborough
|Ancestors of James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough|
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
- Nicholas Wroe (28 August 2009). "A Life in Writing". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Emma Brockes (10 December 2002). "Cream of the crop". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "Duke of Marlborough dies at 88". The Guardian. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Marquess of Blandford admits 'road rage'". The Daily Telegraph. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- ""'Road Rage' Marquess Sent to Jail". BBC News. 10 September 2007.
- "Blandford sent back to prison over road-rage attack on driver". The Independent. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Wilson, C., (17 October 2014). "Can Blenheim survive in the hands of ex-junkie jailbird Jamie Blandford? As the Duke of Marlborough dies, this question hangs over one of our finest stately homes". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Ffrench, A. (17 October 2014). "Son inherits 12th Duke of Marlborough title but Blenheim Palace stays with trustees". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- 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.
- "TV review: Famous, Rich and Homeless (BBC One) – Nasa – Triumph and Tragedy (BBC Two)". The Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2009.
|Peerage of England|
| Duke of Marlborough
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Duke of Devonshire
The Duke of Marlborough
The Duke of Rutland