Over the centuries Cliveden has been home to dukes, duchesses, earls, viscounts and for a while a prince. Our trained volunteer speakers bring the story of this glittering hub of society to you as they share how the various owners, their parties, politics and scandals left their mark on this country estate. We are able to offer a choice of two talks which explore different aspects of the estate’s history:
Cliveden: Passion, Pleasure and Politics – 1 hour
This introductory talk will take you on a journey through Cliveden’s 350 year history. Starting with the Duke of Buckingham who built the first house here in 1666 you’ll meet all the key owners who helped shape the house and its gardens including the Orkney, Sutherland and Astor families. The talk will be accompanied by an illustrated presentation to bring to life these individuals and showing how their influence at Cliveden continues to this day.
Cliveden and the Astors – 1 hour
This illustrated talk takes a closer look at one of Cliveden’s most famous families, the Astors. You’ll discover what motivated William Waldorf Astor, America’s richest man, to purchase Cliveden in 1893 and how the estate became the centre of high society in the 1920s and 30s thanks to his son Waldorf and daughter-in-law Nancy Astor. The Astor’s time at Cliveden came to an end in the 1960s after the estate became infamously associated with Profumo Affair but the house and garden continue to reflect their innovations and passions.