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Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough


Rosita Spencer-Churchill Rosita Spencer-Churchill  

Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (born 26 September 1943 Madrid) is a British artist and third (and former wife) of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough.

She was born Countess Dagmar Rosita Astrid Libertas Douglas in Madrid, Spain, the younger daughter of Carl Ludwig Douglas, Count Douglas (26 July 1908 Stjerntorp - 21 January 1961 Rio de Janeiro), a Swedish nobleman and diplomat who was Royal Swedish Ambassador to Brazil, and his Prussian wife Ottora Maria Haas-Heye (13 February 1910 Partenkirchen - 17 July 2001, died aged 91), granddaughter of Philip, Prince of Eulenburg. She grew up as a diplomat’s child, travelling all over the world but spent her summers at the family home of Stjarnorp.

Rosita Douglas attended schools in Sweden and in Washington DC. She studied arts at Sweden’s renowned art school Konstfackhoskolan in Stockholm, and then at the Ecole Superieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. While in Paris she also worked for the famed fashion designer, Emanuel Ungaro and later as a freelance designer in London.

She became the third wife of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough on 20 May 1972, whereupon she became The Duchess of Marlborough. They had three children:

    Lord Richard Spencer-Churchill (born 1973; died four months later as an infant)
    Lord Edward Albert Charles Spencer-Churchill (born 1974),
    Lady Alexandra Elizabeth Spencer-Churchill (born 1977).
The duke and duchess were divorced in 2008, after several years of living separately. According to several articles, the Duchess moved to a house on the Blenheim estate and also bought herself a house in France.

In 1992, the duchess returned to art as a professional. She has had two solo exhibitions in London and one in Palm Beach. Her first show in London in 1995 featured figurative paintings.Since then, she traveled to Morocco in 1996, and her paintings of Moroccan themes sold briskly. She has since exhibited and sold paintings in London, New York, and Palm Beach. Her paintings and sculptures are in collections around the world. She has also had a retrospective Rosita Marlborough: A Retrospective at the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum at the Southern Vermont Arts Center from July 15-September 1, 2006.

Rosita Marlborough is a maternal aunt of Sophie, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein by marriage, Duchess Marie-Caroline of Wurttemberg, and their three sisters, Helene, Elisabeth, and Maria-Anna, who are all Princesses of Bavaria. Her elder sister Elizabeth Christina (b. 1940) is married since January 1967 to Max-Emmanuel, Duke in Bavaria, heir presumptive to the Headship of the Royal House of Bavaria, and also heir presumptive to the Jacobite pretensions to the thrones of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France

Her maternal aunt was Libertas Schulze-Boysen nee Haas-Heye (1913-1942), who with her husband Harro Schulze-Boysen (1909-1942) were executed by the Nazis. Her maternal great-grandfather was Philip, Prince of Eulenburg (1847-1921), a friend of Wilhelm II, whose youngest child Viktoria Ada Astrid Agnes Gräfin zu Eulenburg (1886-1967) married 1909 (div 1921) Otto Ludwig Haas-Heye (1879 - 1959), and had issue, including two daughters. Rosita descends through both her mother and father from medieval Scandinavian nobility and rulers. However, her father's patriline is Scottish, of the Swedish-German branch, descended via two obscure generations, descended from the youngest son of James Douglas, 1st Baron of Dalkeith, ancestor of the 15th century Earls of Morton. All these Douglases were of the Morton branch of the ancient Douglas family.

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