Insider Details of the Hotels Where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Will Stay the Night Before They Marry
Meghan Markle and her mother will descend on Cliveden House the Friday night before her May 19 nuptials to Prince Harry. Starting at a cool $600 per night, this five-star luxury hotel is exquisite. With its award-winning cuisine and suites rich in history, it is no surprise brides and grooms have to book out years in advance to secure their own wedding at this sprawling 376-acre, 350-year-old Berkshire, England estate.
Although historic, Cliveden is laden with scandal. Follow along to learn all the insider details of this scandalous hotel where Markle will stay the night before she marries Prince Harry, and where Prince Harry will be residing (page 12).
1. It was built for the 2nd Duke of Buckingham’s mistress
In the 1600s, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham had the grandiose idea to erect Cliveden House in honor of his beloved mistress, Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. The two were madly in love, but both married to other people. Buckingham romanticized that Cliveden would be a sanctuary for him and Anna Maria to retreat and secretly have gatherings with their friends.
Next: The affair wouldn’t stay under wraps for long.
2. The public caught wind of the Duke’s affair
Like any good tryst, the public caught wind and in blew the drama — being tight-lipped was clearly not Buckingham’s strong suit. Nevertheless, Buckingham challenged Anna Maria’s husband, Lord Shrewsbury, to a little fencing match. Unfortunately for Shrewsbury, he was stabbed in the chest and inevitably died a handful of months later.
Next: Once the king caught wind of the affair, everything would change.
3. The king forced the Buckingham and Anna Maria to separate
After the dual, Buckingham foolishly presumed that he and Anna Maria would carry out their fairy tale in royal fashion, but that was absolutely not the case. The attention surrounding the affair just wouldn’t do for the king, who demanded that Buckingham and his mistress part ways forever and always. This all went down before Cliveden had ever been built.
Next: Would Buckingham’s life’s work come to fruition?
4. Buckingham died before he could finish building Cliveden
Clearly a strong-willed lad, Buckingham decided to press onward with the creation of Cliveden — with or without his precious Countess of Shrewsbury. But before the estate was finished, Buckingham died in 1687. Not to fret, after nearly a decade a wealthy British aristocrat swooped in, bought the property, and finished building it.
Next: Another royal lad bites the dust.
5. Frederick Prince of Wales moved in and quickly died
Once Cliveden was finished, it became the country home of King George II’s son, Frederick the Prince of Wales. Frederick was next in line for the throne, but that quickly changed once he came down with a deadly fever in 1751. He died shortly after, relinquishing the throne to his brother who eventually became King George III.
Next: You will not believe what happens next.
6. Cliveden burned to the ground — twice
Nearly 100 years after its construction completion, the Cliveden went up in flames. Almost every bit of the main house was brought to the ground in a pile of ash. So, it was rebuilt. But only 50 years after the Cliveden was rebuilt, it burned to the ground yet again. In order to keep the tradition alive, over the course of a decade, it was rebuilt once more.
Next: In walks the richest man in the world to save Cliveden.
7. William Waldorf Astor bought Cliveden in the late 1800s
Once William Waldorf Astor got his hands on the Cliveden in 1893, it blossomed into quite the elevated abode. Astor outfitted the landscape of the estate with gardens, fountains, and sculptures, and the interior transformed into gilded luxury. Astor ended up gifting the Cliveden to his son and new daughter-in-law, Waldorf and Nancy, as a wedding gift. The couple amped up the estate to portray a more modern-day elegance.
Next: In the mid-1900s, drama ensues.
8. The “Profumo Affair” begins
Nancy and Waldorf’s son, Bill, inherited Cliveden, which would prove to change the course of the estate’s history forever. In the early 1960s, Bill installed a pool that became the epicenter of parties and high-profile gatherings. During one particular event, guests were led to the famed pool only to find 19-year-old Soho party girl, Christine Keeler, lounging in the nude.
Next: The “Profumo Affair” continues
9. The “Profumo Affair” continued
When John Profumo caught a glimpse of Keeler in that pool, he was awe-struck. Entranced by all of her beauty, Profumo took a deep dive into a full-blown affair with Keeler. Keep in mind that Profumo was both married and a British Secretary of War. Perhaps this was his modus operandi, as it soon became public knowledge that Profumo also had flings with other women, including a Russian spy.
Next: The affairs created a whirlwind of government demise.
10. Astor’s name and the government was tarnished
While one would think this was Profumo’s drama and his only, that was far from reality. The news spread like full-on wildfire. Bill was questioned by the police for potentially running a brothel, not to mention being assumed to have orchestrated the high-profile affair. Amidst a slew of other scandals, the Profumo Affair was the icing on the cake. The Conservative government and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan lost the trust of its country. Macmillan stepped down shortly after the onslaught of the rumors.
Next: The future of Cliveden starts to look brighter.
11. The National Trust took over and out burped a luxury hotel
Considering the Cliveden had been donated to the National Trust decades prior, the Cliveden House has been a high-end luxury hotel since the 1980s. And despite the property’s scandalous history, it has become a haven and retreat for the British monarch, as well as American royalty — President Roosevelt included. The 38-room, five-star hotel is considered one of the most prestigious of getaways.
Next: Here’s where Prince Harry and Prince William will stay.
12. Prince Harry will be staying at Coworth Park
This Ascot, England, luxury hotel is fit for a prince — well, two princes. Joined by Prince William, Prince Harry will be spending the night before his wedding at Coworth Park, a Dorchester Collection hotel. Resembling a more clean-lined, modern elegance than that of Cliveden House, Prince Harry will be able to kick back and enjoy a round of polo before walking down the aisle.
Next: Coworth Park was the location of a major milestone for Harry and Markle.
13. Prince Harry and Markle’s first public kiss was at Coworth
Although the two had certainly shared many kisses beforehand, Coworth Park was the location where the couple shared their first public one. Markle accompanied her royal beau to the Audi Polo Challenge at the Coworth Park Polo Club.
Next: Expect nothing less than the royal treatment.
14. The princes will receive the royal treatment
They are princes after all, so it’s no wonder Harry and William will be receiving the royal treatment. Whether the guys choose to take a morning horse ride or play a round of polo, they will have their pick. Furthermore, while indulging in a spa day may not be a customary bachelor move, it will also be at their fingertips.
Next: Will Harry get cold feet?
15. Coworth Park will be the perfect pre-wedding setting
Any pre-wedding jitters will be soothed by the expansive grounds and relaxing environment of Coworth Park. It is likely that Prince Harry will take over the Dower House — the largest and most private of the estate. Equipped with three bedrooms, living space, and a kitchen, it will be the perfect locale to reside the night before his royal wedding.