Friday, August 3, 2018

Three Women and a Palace

This is the front gate of Blenheim Palace, Britain's only non Royal Palace. 
It  sits in its own massive grounds, so we had to start somewhere....
We take our MIE research very seriously!

This is the front door.

The corners of the internal quadrangle..

This was a few days after Donald Trump had visited the Queen here. The visit was downgraded so they could not meet in a state owned property. He evoked outrage by walking in front of the Queen ( if you are a monarchist)  or by walking in front of a 92 year old woman who happened to be the Queen (if you are not). There was a wonderful piece of footage of her slightly flapping her hand at her side, signalling to him to walk back here like he was a slightly demented corgi.
Well he is the same colour.

"All I wanted was compliance with my wishes after reasonable discussion"
A famous quote by Winston Churchill, the most famous son of Blenheim.
Hope Trump read that.

A map of the victory at Blindheim, the village  in Barvaria where John Churchill led his troops into battle on the 13th of August 1704. He  is considered one of the greatest generals of the British/English Army.

The Marlborough Cart.  (The family are known as the Duke/ Duchess etc of Marlborough)
 These narrow  carts with their high wheelbase allowed Churchill's troops to use very small tracks, often making it look like the entire army had vanished into the forest.
The dispatch announcing victory was written by Churchill on the back of a tavern bill on the battlefield at Blindheim and sent off by horseback to Queen Mary.

                                                      The two famous Churchills.

Queen Mary was so chuffed she 'gave' the land and £250 000 (in 1704!) as a 'gift'. Which was an issue as it was not quite enough. Maybe more of a golden handcuff. Like winning a Ferrari but not being able to afford the petrol.
Queen Mary found herself on the wrong end of the temper of her previous best friend Ann Churchill.

They had a habit of painting  heavenly images on the ceiling, beautifully  detailed, and getting their own features painted onto the main characters.
This is expensive, as we walked round we could see the paintings getting plainer.

You can guess the favourite daughter red!

The women herself

A picture of the two woman, one 'looking at the camera', the other 'playing with her mobile'. They are NOT talking.

A courting chair- see the wee barrier for the chaperone to sit and prevent pattifingers

This is the first ever picture of the Blenheim spaniel,  it's just like a normal spaniel but has a speckly pattern on its head.  This was due to either the Duchess or the dog being pregnant while the latter was sitting in the lap of the former. I couldn't hear which way round it was due to screaming small people.

This pic shows who was boss in the relationship.. .. ie not him.

And here's a close up of the speckly headed spaniel.
By now, the Duke of Marlborough was running out of money- architects, gardeners, artists were sacked for being too expensive. 
There was stalemate until the next generation came along..and the next..and the next...
 To save the house, this Churchill  ( the 9th Duke of Marlborough) did an unthinkable thing. He married an AMERICAN.
( Dramatic pause)

This was Consuelo Vanderbilt of course.  She was in love with somebody else but he didn't have a title. He was in love with somebody else but she had no money. Consuelo was 5 feet 11, she could wear 11 strands of pearls round her neck without them overlapping.
Her mother was very keen on the marriage. She wasn't.

This tapestry shows the Marlborough handcart in use.

The paintings above the main hall are plain but give the illusion of a pillared open space, with men of every nationality looking down; every nationality looking down on the high heid yins ( those in charge). Trump had his reception in this atrium. I wonder if the paintings were pointed out to him.
Maybe even explained to him.
A wedding gift of the message being written on the tavern tab in silver.

Consuelo's mum gave her daughter this as a wedding present.
A gold plated cot.
No pressure there then.

The dispatch on display..

The land etc is rented by the crown to the Marlborough estate. The rent is this piece of cloth that has to appear at Buckingham Palace on a specific day each year. In June I think. Then it goes back to Blenheim to  dangle from the mantelpiece and catch dust.


Before she died Ann Churchill commissioned this larger than life size statue of Queen Mary which stands overlooking the long gallery.  So they made up at the end.

You can see that the ceilings in the long gallery remain  unpainted, no money left.

The statue stands in a truly beautiful room, with books everywhere. ( just like Murder Is Everywhere)

I was going to say Queen Mary stands at one end looking at the organ. 
It is the biggest organ in a private house in Europe. 

Trump was there  before us, a triathalon happened the weekend after us. It was our job to eat the cake.

Caro Ramsay 03 08 2018


  1. I love the reference to the "slightly demented corgi." Somehow I feel much better!

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  3. I'd buy it if all the ceilings were painted.

  4. Caro, I was there two years ago and never noticed the empty panels on the ceilings. So much for my powers of observation.

    Given the choice between the current denizen of the White House and a demented corgi, I'd vote for the corgi.

  5. And a glorious job you did, Caro, on not just the cake. Though I must admit I was wondering if it were Devil's food, carrot or some other delicious concoction.

    Speaking of wondering, I suspect you were wondering why neither EvKa nor I (so far) commented on Queen Mary spending eternity gazing from a distance on the biggest organ in a private house in Europe. As I see it, it was Ann Churchill's ultimate revenge!