As the day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials approaches, Kensington Palace have started releasing more and more information about the big day. Now, we know where the royal couple are staying the night before their wedding.
While Prince Harry will stay at Coworth Park with his brother and best man Prince William, his fiancée Meghan Markle will be at Cliveden House with her mother Doria Ragland. The estate, which was designed by the same architect as the Palace of Westminster, Sir Charles Barry. It was gifted to the National Trust in 1942, and has operated as a hotel since then.
It’s an interesting choice of venue for the bridal party – particularly considering the house’s scandalous history.
Initially built as a home for the mistress of the 2nd Duke of Buckinghamshire in 1668, it was the scene of a dual, with the Duke injured over the affair. Following these tumultuous early years, it was the home to several other members of the aristocracy, before a fire destroyed the main building in 1795.
Yet perhaps the most famous scandal that had Cliveden as its backdrop is the Profumo Affair, which recently played out in season two of Netflix’s hit royal biopic series The Crown. It was the setting of the infamous affair between Conservative secretary of state John Profumo and escort Christine Keeler, which shocked British society in 1961 when it was exposed in the tabloids.
On the flip side, the hotel was also the scene of trailblazing female politician Nancy Astor’s burgeoning career, when she and her husband hosted world leaders like Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt and Mahatma Ghandi there. She was the first woman elected in to parliament in 1919, and an American to boot. Her father-in-law William Waldorf Astor owned the hotel, which he bought in 1893.