Military Wiki
His Grace

The Duke of Marlborough

The Duke of Marlborough, by George Romney.
Lord Privy Seal

In office
Monarch George III
Prime Minister George Grenville
Preceded by The Duke of Bedford
Succeeded by The Duke of Newcastle
Lord Chamberlain

In office
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Earl of Bute
Preceded by The Duke of Devonshire
Succeeded by The Earl Gower
Personal details
Born (1739-01-26)26 January 1739
Died 29 January 1817(1817-01-29) (aged 78)
Blenheim Palace,
Woodstock, Oxfordshire
United Kingdom
Nationality  United Kingdom
Spouse(s) Lady Caroline Russell (1743–1811; her death)
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain (1755-1801)
 United Kingdom (1801-1817)
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1755-1760
Rank Captain
Unit Coldstream Guards (1755)
20th Regiment of Foot (1756-1760)

George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough KG, PC, FRS (26 January 1739 – 29 January 1817), styled Marquess of Blandford until 1758, was a British courtier and politician from the Spencer family. He served as Lord Chamberlain between 1762 and 1763 and as Lord Privy Seal between 1763 and 1765.

Background and education[]

Styled by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford from birth, he was the eldest son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and the Honourable Elizabeth Trevor, daughter of Thomas Trevor, 2nd Baron Trevor. He was the brother of Lord Charles Spencer, Lady Diana Spencer and Lady Elizabeth Spencer. He was educated at Eton.[1]


Marlborough entered the Coldstream Guards in 1755 as an Ensign, becoming a Captain with the 20th Regiment of Foot the following year. After inheriting the dukedom in 1758, Marlborough took his seat in the House of Lords in 1760, becoming Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in that same year.[1] The following year, he bore the sceptre with the cross at the coronation of George III.[citation needed] In 1762, he was made Lord Chamberlain as well as a Privy Counsellor, and after a year succeeded this appointment as Lord Privy Seal, a post he held until 1765.[1] An amateur astronomer, he built a private observatory at his residence, Blenheim Palace. He kept up a lively scientific correspondence with Hans Count von Brühl, another aristocratic dilettante in astronomy.[citation needed]

The Duke was made a Knight of the Garter in 1768, and was elected to the Royal Society in 1786.[1]


Marlborough married Lady Caroline Russell, daughter of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, in 1762, by whom he had eight children:

  • Lady Caroline Spencer (1763–1813), married the Henry Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden and had issue, including George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover.
  • Lady Elizabeth Spencer (1764–1812), married her cousin John Spencer (a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough) and had issue.
  • George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough (1766–1840)
  • Lady Charlotte Spencer (1769–1802), married Rev. Edward Nares and had issue.
  • Lord Henry John Spencer (1770–1795)
  • Lady Anne Spencer (1773–1865), married Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury and had issue.
  • Lady Amelia Spencer (1774–1829), married Henry Pytches Boyce.
  • Lord Francis Almeric Spencer (1779–1845), created Baron Churchill in 1815.

The Duchess of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in November 1811, aged 68. The Duke of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in January 1817, aged 78, and was buried there.[1]


  •  Lee, Sidney, ed (1898). "Spencer, George (1739-1817)". Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  • The Collected Correspondence of Baron Franz von Zach, Volume 3 (British Letters), 2008. Edited by Clifford J. Cunningham. Star Lab Press.
Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Duke of Marlborough
Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Macclesfield
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Earl Gower
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Duke of Newcastle
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Charles Spencer
Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
George Spencer-Churchill

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