|Birth||May 13, 1844|
|Death||November 9, 1892 (Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, West Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire)|
George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough DL (13 May 1844 – 9 November 1892), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1857 and Marquess of Blandford between 1857 and 1883, was a British peer.
Background and education
Marlborough was the eldest son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane, daughter of Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. He was the elder brother of Lord Randolph Churchill and the uncle of Winston Churchill. He was educated at Eton College between 1857 and 1860 and later joined the army, gaining the rank of Lieutenant in 1863 in the service of the Royal Horse Guards. He was initiated into the rite of Freemasonry in January 1871 along with his brother Randolph, in the Churchill Lodge in London.
Marlborough married firstly, Lady Albertha Frances Anne Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, on 8 November 1869 at Westminster Palace. She was unkindly described by her mother-in-law as "stupid, pious and dull". They were divorced on 20 November 1883, shortly after Marlborough inherited the dukedom after the death of his father. Though the new duchess was technically Albertha, Duchess of Marlborough after their divorce, she preferred to use the title she used throughout most of the couple's married life and was known as Albertha, Marchioness of Blandford. They had four children:
- Lady Frances Louisa Spencer-Churchill (15 September 1870 – 13 November 1954), married 6 June 1893 Sir Robert Gresley, 11th Baronet, by whom she had issue.
- Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough (13 November 1871 – 30 June 1934).
- Lady Lillian Maud Spencer-Churchill (9 July 1873 – 4 January 1951), married 6 October 1898 Colonel Cecil Grenfell, by whom she had two daughters.
- Lady Norah Beatrice Henriette Spencer-Churchill (1 September 1875 – 28 April 1946), married 1 December 1920 Francis Bradley Bradley-Birt, by whom she had issue.
While married to Albertha, he fathered an illegitimate son, later known as Guy Bertrand (b. 4 November 1881), by Edith Peers-Williams (d. 1897) who was still married to Heneage Finch, 7th Earl of Aylesford (1849–1885). In an attempt to pressure Lord Aylesford to drop his divorce suit, Lady Aylesford and Marlborough's younger brother, Lord Randolph Churchill, threatened the Princess of Wales that they would subpoena the Prince of Wales (who was touring India at the time) as a witness in the divorce.
The duke was cited as one of four co-respondents in the sensational divorce trial of Lady Colin Campbell. He married, as his second wife, (Jane) Lilian Warren Price (1854–1909), the widow of Louis Carré Hammersley, a New York real-estate millionaire, and a daughter of retired United States Navy Commodore Cicero Price. The civil marriage took place on 29 June 1888 at New York City Hall, with the ceremony officiated by the Mayor of New York City, Abram S. Hewitt. A religious ceremony followed the same day, in the chancel of Tabernacle Baptist Church and presided over by its minister, Dr. Daniel C. Potter. There were no issue from this marriage.
The 8th Duke of Marlborough died in 1892, aged 48 at Blenheim Palace, and was succeeded by his only legitimate son, Charles, Marquess of Blandford.