Monday, July 5, 2010

Blenheim Palace...Birthdplace of Winston Churchill

On Monday's to do list...Blenheim Palace.  The word "WOW" pretty much sums it up as the place was quite fantastic!  As one would expect, the entrance to the grounds was very nice and impressive.  The pond and bridge on the right is the first thing you see as you enter the driveway. Immediately after this spectacular site is the first glimpse of the palace.
After strolling the grounds a bit, we headed into the main house. The first part of the house takes you through the Winston Churchill exhibit.  There are letters from young Winston to his parents...they sounded so formal but in typical teenage fashion, he asked his father for money for university expenses!  Winston's grandparents were the 7th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and he very much loved Blenheim...spending as much time there as he could.  It was by accident he was born at Blenheim as his parents were visiting his grandparents at the time of his birth and in typical Churchill fashion, he was impatient and arrived early.   

The Churchill exhibit ends where the guided house tour begins.  Of course being the curious ones, we asked questions about a portrait the guide completely overlooked and his response was "oh that is the present Duchess of Marlborough but her name escapes me".  Now call me crazy, but wouldn't you know the name of the current occupant of the house?!  The tour was very good and full of other tidbits so that did make up a smidgen for him not knowing the current Duchess.  Blenheim Palace is a result of the 1st Duke of Marlborough's victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim.  Queen Ann was so appreciative of the Duke's victory she gave him 2,000 acres and £240,000 to build a house. 

The house was quite grand and fitting for a man of his station.  One of the things our guide pointed out was the Duke's symbol he had placed on top of much of the palace.  The top is a crown which represents England, next is a cannon ball representing England's military power and finally a Fleur-de-lis representing France.  So basically it represents England crushing France!  As a matter of fact, Blenheim Palace is a tribute to England's victory over the French.

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