By Alejandra Gallegos
Ask any normal person where they spend their summers, and you’ll receive a variety of answers. Some travel back to their original birthplace (or that of their parents) and others stay in their native state; some travel every year for a week to a timeshare in an exotic location and others dedicate a month to community service. But nobody will tell you that they spend their summers at a palace in the English countryside.
Winston Churchill, perhaps the British statesmen most highly recognized by Americans, was born at Blenheim Palace on November 30, 1874. The palace was—and currently remains—the ancestral home of the Spencer-Churchill family. He spent the first two years of his life in the palace before moving to Dublin. He proposed to his wife, Clementine Hozier, in the gardens of the estate in August of 1908. Following their wedding, the couple spent the first two days of their honeymoon at Blenheim Palace before setting off on holiday in Italy.
The palace is technically an estate, but it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987—and rightfully so. The exterior is utterly divine, and the interior is warm and dark in a characteristically charming English way. Today, part of the palace is a museum that pays homage to Churchill and his service to Britain, including remarks he made during World War II, where he lead Britain to victory against Hitler and the Nazi party.
Perhaps what compelled me to write about Blenheim Palace is that the history in it—in its being Winston Churchill’s birthplace—is so tangible. Churchill lives on as a celebrated figure not only in British history, but in American history as well. The greatness of his character is reflected in the palace, which is equally humble and commanding in its presence. Its grounds are not overwhelmingly beautiful, but they demand to be appreciated. The hour I spent admiring the palace is one I’ll never forget.