Blenheim Palace researcher Antonia Keaney, is an experienced and amusing speaker. She has addressed a variety of audiences and has featured on both local and national TV and radio. She greatly enjoys sharing her passion for all things Blenheim.
To book Antonia Keaney for your next event, contact us today.
Read more about Antonia Keaney
Antonia Keaney joined Blenheim Palace in 2008 – firstly as a member of the Education Team then later taking on the role of Social History Researcher for the Palace.
‘Mine must be the best job in the world’ says Antonia. ‘No two days are the same and each day can be full of surprises.’
Antonia has co-curated a number of exhibitions at Blenheim (Blenheim Palace in World War I – 2014, Capability Brown - 2016) as well as researching and curating ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ in 2013 and the hugely successful ‘Passion for Fashion – 300 years of Style at Blenheim Palace’ in 2017.
Researching and delivering talks has always been a favourite part of her role and in addition to speaking at varied venues, Antonia has delivered a ‘Conversation’ at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, been in Conversation with fashion editor, Caroline Issa at a Bicester Village Brunch, hosted an event at Soho Farmhouse, made a guest appearance on Radio 4’s Saturday Live Show with the Reverend Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir and, most recently appeared, with John Craven on BBC’s Countryfile.
In her spare time, Antonia enjoys the company of her family and her dogs – particularly Percy, a wire-haired Dachshund, who has inspired her to write and illustrate her first children’s book – Percy at the Palace (a Dog’s Eye View of Blenheim). She is currently working on her second children’s book, Percy and the Pug (Chatting with Churchill) in which Percy encounters Winston Churchill in the grounds of Blenheim Palace as well as her first non-fiction book, A Passion for Fashion – Putting on a Show at Blenheim Palace – due for publication in Spring 2019.
Antonia addresses several Blenheim themes and topics with humour and affection – amongst them:-
The Ladies of Blenheim (Lust and Laudanum)
A fascinating and entertaining look at the ladies of the Marlborough/Churchill family usually overlooked in favour of the men. This talk redresses the balance as it looks at the achievement of some of the Duchesses and other female family members, and discusses many of their foibles, failings and idiosyncrasies.
Evacuees and Espionage - WWII at Blenheim Palace
The Marlborough family, Estate staff and the Palace itself played a full and energetic part in the war effort. This talk tells the story of how the Palace prepared for the worst, survived the onslaught of 400 boys evacuated to Blenheim and kept the secrets of MI5. The talk will introduce such characters as the 10th Duchess, Mr. Sacré (land agent, ARP Warden and member of the Home Guard), and Malvern college Old Boys and evacuees, Sir Stephen Brown and George Chesterton.
Lights, Camera, Action; Blenheim Palace, the star of film & TV!
Blenheim Palace has been used as a filming location in a wide variety of TV adverts and programmes, and has appeared in both Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters. It has starred in films such as Hamlet and The Young Victoria, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Gulliver's Travels and more recently in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and 007’s Spectre. The talk will explain what actually happens at the Palace when Hollywood descends and what happens when things don’t go exactly according to plan!
A Passion for Fashion – 300 Years of Style at Blenheim Palace.
A Passion for Fashion looks at the outerwear and underwear which would have been worn by family members, as well as some of the more unusual accessories used by them - false eyebrows made from ‘mouse’ skin, fans, wigs and scalp scratchers and a look at King Louis XIV’s obsession with shoes and how the styles he favoured have been adopted by the fashionistas of today.
This captivating talk will also highlight examples of clothing worn by Victorian children, including the young Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim Palace. It is a unique insight into Blenheim Palace’s fashionable past and highlights the leading role the Palace and its many occupants have played in the changing face of fashion down through the ages – right up to the special relationship Blenheim Palace enjoys with the House of Dior.
Other talks include:-
Christmas at Blenheim Palace – past and present
The Unknown Churchill - The private resources of Blenheim Palace are drawn upon to afford very new and refreshing insights into this remarkable man. We examine the breadth of talent, achievement and personality of the "Greatest Briton": soldier, politician, statesman, painter, writer, orator, family man - and bricklayer!
Running a Great Estate – a look behind the scenes
Odd Men and Necessary Women – the servants of Blenheim Palace