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It was not until the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 that Marlborough reached the zenith of his powers and secured his fame and fortune.His marriage to the hot-tempered Sarah Jennings – Anne's intimate friend – ensured Marlborough's rise, first to the Captain-Generalcy of British forces, then to a dukedom.When Winston departed for Ireland the following year, John enrolled at the Dublin Free School; but by 1664, following his father's recall to the position of Junior Clerk Comptroller of the King's Household at Whitehall, John had transferred his studies to St Paul's School in London.The King's own penury meant the old Cavaliers received scant financial reward, but the prodigal monarch could offer something which would cost him nothing – positions at court for their progeny.Thus in 1665, John's sister Arabella became Maid of Honour to Anne Hyde, the Duchess of York.Some months later John, 15, joined her at court serving as page to Anne's husband, James, Duke of York, the King's brother, destined to be king himself.Incurring Anne's disfavour, and caught between Tory and Whig factions, Marlborough, who had brought glory and success to Anne's reign, was forced from office and went into self-imposed exile.He returned to England and to influence under the House of Hanover with the accession of George I to the British throne in 1714.

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On her death in 1733, Anne's son Charles became the 3rd Duke of Marlborough.Marlborough's insatiable ambition made him the richest of all Anne's subjects.His family connections wove him into the fabric of European politics (his sister Arabella became James II's mistress, and their son, the Duke of Berwick, emerged as one of Louis XIV's greatest Marshals).Many of Marlborough's hagiographers, following Lediard's panegyric, credit him with service in the garrison of the North African outpost of Tangier, recently acquired as part of the dowry of Charles II's Portuguese wife, Catherine of Braganza. Churchill says "There is, indeed, no contemporary evidence of his ever having been there".However, Churchill then assumes that he had been there, on the strange basis that Marlborough said that he had, at some time, been to Spain, and he supposedly would have considered the somewhat notorious and decidedly new Stuart possession of Tangier to be "Spain".

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