Thursday, April 29, 2010

Joust for you; Joust for fun!

So the second bank holiday has arrived - and true to form the weather has taken a depressing dip after a couple of weeks of blue sky and sunshine. The colder, damper weather is hardly condusive to spending time outside but hopefully the appeal of our Jousting Tournaments and falconry displays will draw big crowds each day.

The Knights of Royal England led by Jeremy Richardson provide fantastic entertainment with two displays each day - both preceded by stunning falconry displays. A great day out for all the family with the Palace as a fantastic backdrop to the activities - hope to see you there!

The last couple of weeks have raced by and we are now less than a week away from the "big" election. The leaders debates have provided great prime time viewing and at least the 3rd one last night was a little more feisty - and a little less stage managed - than the first two on ITV and Sky. Brown seemed to be immensely negative and defensive throughout, not surprising after the events of the previous day in Rochdale, and he does seem to be wounded/damaged beyond repair which leaves Clegg and Cameron fighting for the floating or the switching voter. The fear of Labour securing the most seats with only the 3rd highest share of the popular vote terrifies me and hopefully the fear of this, and the uncertainty that it will create, will push votes towards the Conservatives so that they can secure both the seats they require and a working majority - probably too late to get the three leaders to Blenheim Palace this weekend for the jousting tournament - last man standing wins - sounds like an attractive proposition! Only time will tell but we will know the outcome a week today!

The Duke and Duchess have finally managed to return from a short break in America - they like many others were delayed by the volcanic ash cloud - but they got back in time for the Churchill Memorial Concert at Blenheim Palace last Saturday evening. The numbers attending were slightly down on prior years but it was an excellent evening with the main address being given by General Sir Richard Dannatt GCB CBE MC - very thought provoking and very clearly hugely inspired by the memory of Sir Winston Churchill. An excellent, high quality, event that raises good money for local charities.

On Monday evening we had a launch event to celebrate the publication of Margaret Forster's first book called "Churchill's Grandmama" - Margaret is married to John Forster (the Archivist and former Education Officer at Blenheim Palace) and this interesting book looks at, and celebrates/reveals, the life of Churchill's grandmother, Frances, 7th Duchess of Marlborough. Published by the History Press it is a great book that has been fully embraced and supported by the family - a "must read" for all of those interested in Churchill's life and his roots. Hopefully it will do well for Margaret.

On Wednesday I was in London for a meeting of the Tourism and Commercial Development Committee at the Historic Houses Association and we covered a wide range of topics including the political situation, the olympics and much more. One topic raised related to comments posted on websites and the apparent lack of controls to mitigate what is said about your property - this is a risk in today's open social media world but all we can all try to do is to ensure that everything is run and delivered to the highest possible standard every hour of every day so that we lessen the likelihood that negative comments will be posted. That said, we do know that some people will never be happy and that some people will always find fault and that some people will always just seek to complain - probably to see what they can get out of it - sad, but true. We monitor as many sites as we can and I am pleased that the vast majority of posts about Blenheim Palace are very positive - those that are negatively slanted are often price/value related but we have hugely lessened this area by way of our "Buy One Day - Get 12 Months Free!" Annual Pass offer.

So with an eye on the weather forecast we hope for a busy/successful weekend and with lots of families here to enjoy the bank holiday events - a perfect day out (even if the weather is less than perfect) to have some fun and to be entertained by the Knights.

The Knights of Royal England at Blenheim Palace - joust for you, joust for fun!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Hoy
May I ask when the Palace intends to send its next Friends' Newsletter? It seems a very long time since the last issue.

May 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Hoy,

Please can any one of your colleagues tell me where I can find family portraits of the fifth, 6th and 7th Dukes of Marlborough? Or did the 8th Duke sell them all to increase funds for the palace, if so, I would be very interested to see them. I know there's not much information on the 5th and 6th Dukes of Marlborough, but i would like to see this missing collection as a matter of interest.



June 25, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

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