The hotel Meghan Markle stayed at before the royal wedding has a wild past

If a bride wants to truly enjoy her wedding day experience, she needs a few things the night before: the perfect support team, a comfy bed to promote restful sleep, and maybe (let's be honest) a glass of champagne or two. Accommodation the night before the wedding is key for anyone getting married, but news has emerged about Meghan Markle's plans for the night before her wedding, with it looking like she will be staying at the Cliveden luxury hotel house just outside Windsor. Of course, people's curiosity is understandable. So, what is Cliveden House? The hotel where Markle and her mother stayed before the royal wedding is very historic and filled with charm and intrigue like so many other royal things.

Let me set the stage for you first. Imagine a sprawling Italianate mansion set on nearly 400 acres of lush grounds. There are beautiful trees and gardens and views of the River Thames. The interior features ornate chandeliers and gilded furniture, chunky canopy beds, magnificent paintings and (real) velvet sofas. The door may seem really heavy and difficult to open. This, my friends, is Cliveden House, a 17th-century manor house in the quaint Berkshire countryside that, according to Harper's BAZAAR, is now privately owned and used as a five-star hotel. Award winning hotel. It's open to the public and a sought-after event venue, so it's no surprise that Markle will be a guest of honor in the run-up to her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19.


There’s more to Cliveden House than its beautiful grounds, though. The property has a rich history and has been controversial from the beginning. According to Town & Country, Cliveden was commissioned by the second Duke of Buckingham in 1666. There was nothing good about the project - in fact, the Duke built it with the intention that it would serve as a private retreat for him and his mistress Anna Maria, the married Countess of Shrewsbury. Before construction can begin, Buckingham's secret affair becomes less secret and Anna Maria's husband challenges the Duke to a duel. The Duke of Buckingham won the duel and his opponent ended up dead, but when the king learned of the situation, he was ultimately forced to sever ties with his love. He vigorously promoted the construction of Cliveden House, which was completed in 1687.

The next owner of the property was Prince Frederick of Wales, son and heir presumptive of George II, Town & Country reported. Frederick's untimely death was the first in a series of tragedies to befall Cliveden. The main house burned almost completely in 1795 and again 50 years later.

America's richest man, William Waldorf Astor, purchased Cliveden House in 1893, ushering in a new era of grandeur for the estate. Astor created gardens and a labyrinth, added grand sculptures and fountains, and imported table furniture from one of Louis XV's mistresses, Town & Country reported. Astor's wife, Lady Nancy Astor, was a famous hostess. The National Trust notes that under her leadership, icons such as Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw were guests at Cliveden House. Of course, Nancy's bedroom was beautiful in its own right and is now a guest room at Cliveden House:

Tanya Gahremani

Guests who come here today can experience the grandeur of its heyday by touring the intricate system of bells that ensured residents' every need was met. As André Bremermann, Cliveden Estate's deputy general manager, tells Bustle, estate staff will know who's calling and which room they need to go to based on the tone of each ringtone.

Tanya Gahremani

While Cliveden is renowned for its charm and excellent service, it also has a dark side due to its association with the infamous Profumo Affair of the 1960s. According to, British War Secretary John Profumo was first introduced to accused prostitute Christine Keeler in 1961. Their meeting began a months-long affair that was kept secret until 1963, when Keeler became involved in a high-profile incident with another prostitute. Her ex-lover was a marijuana dealer who was arrested for a shooting. During the subsequent trial, Keeler confirmed rumors that she had had an affair with the conservative war minister, sparking a scandal that left many Britons questioning their safety and security. Profumo resigned in 1963.

Keeler was living in Spring Cottage at Cliveden House when he first met Profumo. According to Express, Markle will spend her last night as a single woman in the cabin on May 18 before her wedding. This is certainly an interesting and historic choice.

Additional reporting by Bustle deputy lifestyle editor Tanya Ghahremani