|Birth||December 27, 1793 (Wokingham)|
|Death||July 1, 1857 (Blenheim Palace)|
|Education||Christ Church, Eton College|
George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough DCL (27 December 1793 – 1 July 1857), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1817 and Marquess of Blandford between 1817 and 1840, was a British nobleman, politician, and peer. The great-grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill, he served as Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire between 1842 and 1857.
Background and education
Styled Earl of Sunderland from birth, Marlborough was born at Bill Hill, Wokingham, Berkshire (an estate his father was renting at the time), the eldest son of George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Susan Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway. He was educated at Eton between 1805 and 1811 and later at Christ Church, Oxford. He was also given an honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws by Oxford University on 15 June 1841.
Marlborough became known by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford in 1817 when his father succeeded in the dukedom. He sat as Tory Member of Parliament for Chippenham between 1818 and 1820 and for Woodstock from 1826 to 1831, from 1832 to 1835 and from 1838 to 1840, when he succeeded to the dukedom and entered the House of Lords. In 1842 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, a post he held until his death.
Spencer-Churchill played cricket as a young man and is recorded in one first-class match in 1817, totalling 4 runs with a highest score of 4.
The Duke of Marlborough married, firstly, his first cousin Lady Jane Stewart, daughter of George Stewart, 8th Earl of Galloway, on 13 January 1819. They had four children:
- Lady Louisa Spencer-Churchill (c. 1820–1882), married the Honourable Robert Spencer, son of Francis Spencer, 1st Baron Churchill and had issue.
- John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough (1822–1883).
- Lord Alfred Spencer-Churchill (1824–1893), married Hon. Harriet Gough-Calthorpe, daughter of Frederick Gough-Calthorpe, 4th Baron Calthorpe and had issue.
- Lord Alan Spencer-Churchill (25 July 1825 – 18 April 1873), married Rosalind Dowker.
After his first wife's death in October 1844, aged 46, he married, secondly, the Honourable Charlotte Augusta Flower, daughter of Henry Flower, 4th Viscount Ashbrook, on 10 June 1846. They had two children:
- Lord Almeric Athelstan Spencer-Churchill (1847 – 12 December 1856) died young.
- Lady Clementina Augusta Spencer-Churchill (4 May 1848 – 27 March 1886) married John Pratt, 3rd Marquess Camden and had issue.
After his second wife's death in April 1850, aged 31, he married, thirdly, his first cousin Jane Francis Clinton Stewart, daughter of the Honourable Edward Richard Stewart and granddaughter of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway, on 18 October 1851. They had one child:
- Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill (28 March 1853 – 5 May 1911), married Augusta Warburton, daughter of Major George Drought Warburton and had issue.
Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in July 1857, aged 63, and was succeeded by his eldest son, John. The Duchess of Marlborough died at 28 Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, London, in March 1897, aged 79.
Child by Harriet Churchill (1798–1834) married Karl Graf v. Westerholt in 1819.
- Susan Churchill (1818–1882) married Aimé Timothé Quénod
George Spencer-Churchill, then Marquess of Blandford, and Harriet Churchill went through a false ceremony of marriage with a relative of the groom posing as a cleric. A voyage to Scotland, where they lived as husband and wife was intended by the bride and her parents to make this marriage legal under Scottish law. The sixth Duke did, however, successfully contest in a court of law that they had lived as if they had been married.
- Mary Soames; The Profligate Duke: George Spencer Churchill, Fifth Duke of Marlborough, and His Duchess (1987)