By BARRY SINGER
In the spring of 1882, Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill gave up their house at 29 St. James place in preparation for a trip to the United States—without their children. In the absence of their parents, Winston, age seven, and his brother Jack, age two, lived with their grandparents, the seventh Duke and Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, where Winston had been born in 1874.
Winston and Jack explored the extensive grounds of the palace enjoying the gardens and the parks very much (“so much nicer to walk in than the Green Park or Hyde Park,” wrote Winston to his mother). The boys picked primroses, violets, daisies, and wild hyacinths. They also made “encampments.” Most delightfully for Winston, he learned how to ride on a pony named Rob Roy.
The first issue of Finest Hour to be published in 2020 has the theme “Churchill and Blenheim” and includes many more details about Churchill’s lifelong association with the family seat.
Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.