Pic: ZacharyCulpin/BNPS Pictured: Replica of the Duke of Marlborough's red uniform (The Duke is wearing it in the Blenheim Tapestry to the right of the uniform)

Blenheim Palace is marking the 300th anniversary of the death of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, with brand new exhibition ‘Battlefields & Baroque’ which runs until June 19.  

A courageous leader in battle, Marlborough’s victories over Louis XIV forever changed the face of Europe and led to Sir Winston Churchill, his ancestor who was born at Blenheim, to describe him as Britain’s greatest ever general.

Dress worn by Rachel Weisz in The Favourite in front of a portrait of the real Sarah Churchill Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a monument to his great military achievements and was built for him as a reward from Queen Anne and a grateful nation for his stunning military successes.

Step back in time to the Palace of the 1700’s and marvel at the exquisite clothing, food, games and music that the Duke and his Duchess would have loved. 

1st Duke Family Closterman

Immerse yourself in the daily life of the 1st Duke as you wander through the Palace state rooms to be greeted by the 1st Duke himself, his wife Sarah, or listen to the servants’ below-stairs gossip. 

Also on show will be costumes from the movie The Favourite by Oscar-winning designer Sandy Powell. In the film the role of Sarah was played by Rachel Weisz and the 1st Duke by Mark Gatiss. 

18th century playing-cards commemorating the victories of the Duke of Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession at Blenheim Palace

There will be displays of 18th century armour, music and instruments, the recreation of a court feast of the time and a fascinating collection of unique maps, documents and artefacts from the Blenheim archive, many of them on public display for the first time.

The 1st Duke is a fascinating, but often overlooked, historical figure. At a time when marriages were no more than business transactions to increase power and wealth, John Churchill chose to marry for love. 

Christening gloves which are believed to have been worn by John Churchill as a baby (1650)

After a less than illustrious beginning, he was once imprisoned in the Tower of London, and with the help of his extraordinary, strong-willed wife Sarah, he rose to dizzy heights in the court of Queen Anne, 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. 

Blenheim Palace is also celebrating the 1st Duke’s life and achievements with special talks & tours, a battle re-enactment, concert, themed activities, and events throughout the year.

For more information and to book go to: www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on