Hever Castle began as a Medieval defensive castle, originally constructed in 1270. In the later 15th and 16th centuries it was home to the Boleyns, one of the most powerful families in the country, and the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, who after her marriage to Henry VIII was Queen of England for 1000 days. It was her insistence that she be his wife, rather than merely his mistress, that made Henry renounce Catholicism and establish the Church of England, to enable his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Their love story was intricate and although it ultimately ended in Anne's tragedy, it is widely accepted that Henry never subsequently felt a love so deep as he did for his second wife.
Hever was later passed to the ownership of Anne of Cleves and following her demise in 1557 a succession of families inhabited the Castle, including the Waldegraves and the Humphreys. The castle fabric fell into decline during the 19th century, until it was purchased in 1903 by William Waldorf Astor, who then restored it well enough to remain as a wonderful historic survival today.