Charles James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough (born 24 November 1955), styled the Marquess of Blandford until 2014 and known as Jamie Blandford, is a British aristocrat, peer, and the Duke of Marlborough.
Marlborough is the eldest surviving son of the late 11th Duke of Marlborough, and his first wife, Susan Gough Hornby. As a member of the Spencer family, he is a distant relative of the war-time Conservative Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (the first cousin of his great-grandfather the 9th Duke of Marlborough). He is also a stepbrother of Christina Onassis by the second marriage of his father with Athina Livanos.
Born in Oxford, Marlborough was educated at Harrow School and the Royal Agricultural College. In a bid to safeguard the Blenheim Palace estate from the Marquess's excessive behaviour, his father won a court battle in 1994 to ensure he never won control of the family seat, but their relationship may have improved later.
In 1995, the then-Marquess spent a month in prison for forging prescriptions. In September 2007, he was sentenced to six months in jail on two counts of dangerous driving and one of criminal damage following a "road rage" attack on another motorist's car. At the same time he was banned from driving for three and a half years.
On the death of his father in 2014, the Daily Mail reported that he would inherit the title and quoted a spokeswoman for Blenheim Palace who said "it was 'too early to say' if he will chose (sic) to live in the palace, which is open to the public." The newspaper also noted that, "Though Jamie is now in overall charge of the estate, perhaps mindful of his son's troubled history, the late Duke had insisted the board of trustees should have this power of veto".
However, the Oxford Mail quoted "A palace spokesman declined to comment on whether the 12th Duke – who had a well-publicised drug addiction – [would] inherit his family's residence, but it is understood he could become a trustee of the companies that run it." The Oxford Mail further stated that "[Blenheim] Palace will remain under the control of trustees as the late Duke of Marlborough's heir – Jamie Spencer-Churchill – inherited his father's title." On the other hand, The Daily Telegraph reported that "The responsibility of maintaining one of Britain's grandest country houses for future generations now passes to 58-year-old Jamie Blandford, as he is commonly known, following a remarkable turnaround in his relationship with his late father, who once described him as the 'black sheep' of his family."
On 24 June 2009, Marlborough appeared in a BBC Television documentary, Famous, Rich and Homeless, in which famous people were filmed spending three nights in the open with nothing but a sleeping bag, though he refused to "sleep rough". He claimed that on the first night he slept in the car park of a five-star hotel, though his sleeping bag was discovered unopened, and on the second night he demanded to be housed in a hotel. He refused to participate further despite giving an assurance that he would sleep rough on the third night, and ended his participation on that night. Another participant, Hardeep Singh Kohli, said that Blandford's behaviour was "disrespectful to all the people out there".
Marlborough's first wife was Rebecca Mary Few Brown. They were married from 1990 until 1998, when their marriage ended in divorce. By Rebecca, the then Marchioness of Blandford, he had one son, who is now heir apparent to the Dukedom of Marlborough:George Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford (born 28 July 1992). Lord Blandford went by the courtesy title Earl of Sunderland until his father's accession to the title in 2014.
His second wife is Edla Griffiths, whom he married at Woodstock Register Office on 1 March 2002. They have two children:Lady Araminta Clementine Megan Spencer-Churchill (born 8 April 2007)
Lord Caspar Sasha Ivor Spencer-Churchill (18 October 2008)
Lord Caspar Spencer-Churchill is second in line of succession to the Dukedom of Marlborough.24 November 1955 – 11 March 1972: Earl of Sunderland
11 March 1972 – 16 October 2014: Marquess of Blandford
16 October 2014 – present: His Grace The Duke of Marlborough
The Duke's style and title in full is:
The Most High, Noble and Potent Prince His Grace Charles James Spencer-Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, Marquess of Blandford, Earl of Sunderland, Earl of Marlborough, Baron Spencer of Wormleighton, Baron Churchill of Sandridge.