The Mistresses of Cliveden : Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home, Hardback

The Mistresses of Cliveden : Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home Hardback



This is a Sunday Times best-seller, The Mistresses of Cliveden is the extraordinary story of how five women used their home to influence British society.

From its dawn in the 1660s to its twilight in the 1960s, Cliveden was an emblem of elite misbehaviour and intrigue.

Conceived by the Duke of Buckingham as a retreat for his scandalous affair with Anna-Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury, the house later served as the backdrop for the Profumo Affair, which would bring down a government and change the course of British history.

In the three hundred years between the Countess and Christine Keeler, the house was occupied by a dynasty of remarkable women: Elizabeth Villiers, an intellectual who brokered the rise and fall of governments; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a minor German royal who almost became queen of England; Harriet Duchess of Sutherland, the glittering society hostess turned political campaigner; and Nancy Astor, the consummate controversialist who became the first woman to take a seat in parliament. Under the direction of these women, Cliveden provided a stage for political plots and artistic premieres, hosted grieving monarchs and republican radicals, was idealised as a family home, and maligned as a threat to national security.

The Mistresses of Cliveden is by turns a historical epic, a political thriller, a family drama, and an intimate history of the relationships between people and place.

Above all, it is a story about sex and power, and the ways in which exceptional women have evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times.




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