Well, I supoose Queen Anne wasn't paying out of her own pocket when she commissioned what is now called “Britain's Greatest Palace” (not sure what HM today thinks of that moniker when she looks out the small, cramped windows of poor, mean Buck House); but the so-called “grateful nation” was. Or, at least, they did for a few years until Anne and Marlborough's wife fell out. After that, the poor old family had to pay for the rest of the construction themselves. Diddums.
It is hard to find words to describe Blenheim Palace, and, as always, I suppose it depends on your point of view.
To some, it must seem a horrendously expensive monstrosity that no one family should have the right to own. Even if Marlborough did lead the Brits to victory at the Battle of Blenheim, he was, after all, only doing his duty as a soldier. The extravagance of such a gift seems obscene when weighed against the poverty and privation of the average British citizen in the 18th century. To others, no doubt the symbolism of the place is a worthy aspect of Britain's national story. Then, to the architect and student of design, the palace and gardens must be breathtaking and inspirational in their scope, detail and beauty.
In any event, I was gobsmacked as I walked through and around the place today and it has certainly left this humble Australian of egalitarian bent very thoughtful. Best of all, it is just 20 minutes drive through gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside from where we are staying.