Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough

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9780030447518: Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough

Gladys Marie Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (née Deacon; 1881-1977), was an American socialite. She was the mistress and later the second wife of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. In the late 1890s, the Duke of Marlborough invited Deacon to Blenheim Palace and she became friends with his wife Consuelo. In 1901, the Crown Prince of Prussia visited the palace and took a strong liking to her, giving her a ring that the Kaiser demanded to be returned. At the age of 22, Deacon underwent a plastic surgery attempt in which she had her nose injected with paraffin wax; it slipped, destroying her famous good looks.Deacon became the Duke's mistress soon after moving into the palace. However, Marlborough and Consuelo did not divorce until 1921. Deacon and Marlborough were married in Paris later that year. Artistic and a keen gardener, the new Duchess of Marlborough had enlarged images of her startling blue-green eyes painted on the ceiling of the main portico of Blenheim Palace, where they remain today. Later in their unhappy, childless marriage, she kept a revolver in her bedroom to prevent her husband's entry.[3] As her behaviour became increasingly erratic, most noticeably following the Duke's conversion to Roman Catholicism, the couple began drifting apart. The Duchess pursued her hobby of breeding Blenheim Spaniels, much to her husband's displeasure. Finally, the duke moved out of the palace, and two years later evicted her. He died in 1934.

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