Blenheim was once again a place of wonder and prestige. However, Consuelo was far from happy; she records many of her problems in her cynical and often less than candid biography The Glitter and the Gold. In 1906 she shocked society and left her husband, finally divorcing in 1921. She subsequently married a Frenchman, Jacques Balsan. She died in 1964, having lived to see her son become Duke of Marlborough, and frequently returning to Blenheim, the house she had hated and yet saved, albeit as the unwilling sacrifice.
After his divorce the Duke married again a former friend of Consuelo, Gladys Deacon, another American. This eccentric lady was of an artistic disposition, and a painting of her eyes still remains on the ceiling of the great north portico (see secondary lead image). A lower terrace was decorated with sphinxes modelled on Gladys and executed by W. Ward Willis in 1930. Before her marriage while staying with the Marlboroughs she had caused a diplomatic incident by encouraging the young Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany to form an attachment. The prince had given her an heirloom ring, which the combined diplomatic services of two empires were charged to recover. After her marriage Gladys was in the habit of dining with the Duke with a revolver by the side of her plate. Tiring of her the Duke was temporarily forced to close Blenheim, and turn off the utilities in order to drive her out. They subsequently separated but did not divorce. The Duke died in 1934 and his widow in 1977.
The 9th Duke was succeeded by his and Consuelo Vanderbilt's eldest son: John, 10th Duke of Marlborough (1897–1972), who after eleven years as a widower, remarried at the age of 74, to (Frances) Laura Charteris, formerly the wife of the 2nd Viscount Long and the 3rd Earl of Dudley, and granddaughter of the 11th Earl of Wemyss. The marriage was short-lived, however; the Duke died just six weeks later, on 11 March 1972. The bereaved Duchess complained of "the gloom and inhospitality of Blenheim" after his death, and soon moved out. In her autobiography, Laughter from a Cloud (1980), she referred to Blenheim Palace as "The Dump". She died in London in 1990.
U.K.Trip2014418SmallU.K. Trip 2014