Cliveden: A favourite with royalty

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Cliveden has been visited by virtually every British monarch since Lord Orkney hosted George I here. Throughout the years, Cliveden’s owners have been councillors to the crown and friends of the royal family -a prince has even called Cliveden 'home'.

Home of a prince
Following Lord Orkney’s death, the estate was let to Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1737 for £600 a year. The Prince brought his young family to Cliveden to escape his deteriorating relationship with his parents. 

At Cliveden, Prince Frederick organised theatrical and musical performances in the amphitheatre, most famously hosting the first performance of ‘Rule Britannia’ in 1740. A cricket injury sustained while playing on the Parterre proved fatal in 1751 and his estranged father, George II, outlived him.

Queen Victoria’s confidant
Queen Victoria travelled up the River Thames from Windsor to spend time with her friend, Harriet Duchess of Sutherland. On her accession in 1837, the Queen appointed Harriet Mistress of the Robes and the pair became good friends. In 1861, they both lost their husbands and for many weeks the Duchess was the Queen's sole companion.

Modern day monarchs
In the early 20th century, King Edward VII was eager to meet the newly married Nancy Astor. On one occasion during a visit to Cliveden, Edward VII asked to play bridge but Nancy declined, famously saying ‘I am afraid I can’t tell a King from a Knave’ – much to the King’s amusement.

As a child, Elizabeth II accompanied her parents George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) on a visit in 1938 and visited the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden during the Second World War. As Queen, she was one of 450 guests who attended a lavish ball hosted by Bill Astor in 1957.