Duchess / Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill of Blenheim Palace

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Episode notes

Episode Description:

On the third episode of Duchess, our host sits down with Henrietta Spencer-Chuchill in the breathtaking Blenheim Palace. We hear the amazing story of how the Palace came to be, and how one particular woman was fundamental to it’s construction, the ladies chat about Henrietta’s distinguished lineage, Henrietta’s memories of Winston Churchill, we are taken on a tour of the incredible architecture and interiors of Blenheim, and we hear about sacrifices former custodians have made to keep the Palace going.  

Have you ever watched Bridgerton, The Crown or Downton Abbey and wondered what it's really like to be a Duchess? If so, this is the podcast for you.

Top Quotes:

“The heartbeat of a private heritage home is the family living in it.” Duchess

“My father always said: We are still fighting the battle of Blenheim. The battle doesn’t stop. We will always be fighting for Blenheim.” Henrietta

“Nothing is ever thrown away in a large house.” The Duchess

“It’s my duty to look after such a wonderful and beautiful home. It’s a part of our heritage. We’re very lucky to be a part of it.” Henrietta

“My motto is retain and restore, rather than rip out and replace.” Henrietta

About the Guest and Stately Home:

Henrietta Spencer-Churchill is an interior designer, author, and founder of Woodstock Designs. Henrietta, as the youngest child of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, grew up in Blenheim Palace. 

Situated in Oxfordshire, the site Blenheim occupies has been associated with history and the aristocracy for centuries: Henry II’s mistress Rosamund Clifford lived on the site, Elizabeth I was imprisoned by Mary I for a time here as well. Blenheim, which is the only non- royal and non-episcopal Palace in Britain, was built by the first Duke and Duchess of Marlborough in the 18th century. The Palace is replete with magnificent Baroque architecture and contains a number of priceless art pieces and heirlooms - many of which are related to Winston Churchill who was born in Blenheim Palace. Now, the estate hosts events throughout the year; including cinema screenings, concerts, and exhibitions. Blenheim Palace is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

About the Host:

Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.