Cotswold Character: the 12th Duke of Marlborough

His Grace the Duke of Marlborough with family

His Grace the Duke of Marlborough with family - Credit: Archant

The 12th Duke of Marlborough, who acceded to the title upon his father’s death last October, is the President of Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, which takes place from September 17-20, 2015

The 12th Duke of Marlborough

The 12th Duke of Marlborough - Credit: Archant

What does your role of Event President entail?

I present the prizes for the principal international classes, and host the official welcome party for riders, owners and sponsors in the Palace on the first night of the horse trials. I also meet and greet the sponsors and VIP guests.

What do you most look forward to about the horse trials?

I love watching the cross-country and show jumping. With its setting here at Blenheim Palace in the wonderful parkland, the event has so much appeal to so many people, and there are so many different things to entertain them, from the exciting competition itself to the huge range of other attractions that take place during the event.

I hope that the action from the event will be live-streamed, with drones filming the cross-country course.

Did ponies and riding play a part in your childhood?

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Yes, I started riding when I was four or five. My first pony was called Bubbles. All my family ride.

Your father, the 11th Duke of Marlborough, was a keen hunting man. Did you go hunting in your youth?

Yes, and I enjoyed it. I even got sent home by the legendary Capt Ronnie Wallace, master and huntsman of the Heythrop hounds, for wearing a polo neck under my hunting stock! Such was his keen eye that he spotted it. My father rode by laughing, and was given the same treatment and told firmly to box up his horse and go home!

Your eldest son, the Marquess of Blandford, is a talented polo player. Have you ever played polo?

Yes, I did, at low-goal level. The Marquess is ambassador for the sports and leisurewear brand La Martina, which has a strong association with polo, and I very much enjoy watching him play.

Read about some of our other Cotswold characters here:

Chris Beardshaw

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Kyle Eastwood