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Speaker

Antonia Keaney

Antonia Keaneyis a Blenheim Palace researcher as well as an experienced and amusing speaker. Hugely popular with Ladies Luncheon Clubs, WI's and Rotary Clubs, Antonio delivers outstanding lectures. Antonia joined Blenheim Palace in 2008 as a member of the Education Team, later becoming the Palace’s Social Historian and Researcher. Both roles have involved her curating and co-curating a number of exhibitions at Blenheim including ‘A Passion for Fashion – 300 Years of Blenheim Style’ upon which her latest book of the same name is based.

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About Antonia Keaney

Anthonia Keaney 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. Antonia has been a guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Live with the Reverend Richard Coles and has made various TV appearances including BBC’s Country File, Channel 4’s Phil Spencer’s Stately Homes and most recently on Channel 5’s The Cotswolds with Pam Ayres.

Biography

Antonia Keaney has delivered a ‘Conversation’ at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, been ‘In Conversation’ with fashion editor Caroline Issa, designer Stephen Jones and TV and radio presenter, Sue Perkins, as well as having participated in both the Oxford Literary Festival where she presented her children’s book and more recently at Cheltenham where she chaired a discussion between authors Emma Soames and Rachel Trethewey on their respective Winston Churchill related books.

In her spare time, Antonia enjoys the company of her family and her dogs – particularly Percy, a wire-haired Dachshund, who inspired her to write and illustrate her first children’s book – Percy at the Palace – A Dog’s Eye View of Blenheim.

Antonia’s latest project has been to produce a series of Podcasts – Behind the Scenes at Blenheim Palace – available on Spotify.

Speech Topics

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

Videos

Antonia Keaney News

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