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In Remembrance: HM Queen Elizabeth II

14 September 2022

To mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we are sharing a story from our hotel archives, when she visited The Compleat Angler in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which was her first visit to a public restaurant outside of London during her reign. 

Her Majesty’s Visit to Compleat Angler

On Thursday, 24th June, 1999, history was made as we were honoured by the visit of Her Majesty the Queen, who attended a public restaurant outside England’s capital for the very first time.

The private function was arranged by Arpad Göncz, then President of Hungary, who invited the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, to be his guests at The Compleat Angler.

Marlow was chosen as a meeting place due to its association with Budapest - Marlow Bridge inspired the first suspension bridge in Hungary’s capital - alongside its reputation for high-quality dining coupled with unrivalled views of the bridge and Thames Weir.

Queen Visit to Compleat

A Brief History of The Compleat Angler

Humble fishing inn to legendary establishment

Starting life as a small guesthouse known as the “Riverside Inn” with just six rooms, The Compleat Angler gained its present-day title from Izaak Walton’s famous angling book of the same name which was written about fishing in and Marlow in 1653.

The hotel became increasingly popular with artists, writers and culturally prominent figures through the ages; Edgar Wallace, Scott Fitzgerald, Noel Coward and Nancy Mitford were just some of the names to frequent the picturesque institution on the dreamy banks of Marlow Weir and the River Thames.

Previously owned by Wethereds Brewery, The Compleat Angler was purchased in 1888 by Robert Kilby. He set about adding a restaurant to the site, until Mrs Kilby continued to run the pub after he had passed away.

Compleat Angler 1930

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts Purchase

Throughout the 20th century, management of the pub changed hands between a founding shipbuilder merchant and his daughter, whose husband was the physician to King George V during the 1930s, until Lady Bowater and her husband Sir Ian Bowater persuaded them to entrust them with ownership – seeing continue expansion of the hotel until June 1980.

The Compleat Angler later became a Macdonald hotel, with the hotel now firmly established as a beautiful riverside setting for guests far and wide to enjoy.

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1990 and currently operates 30 hotels, 5 UK self-catering resorts and 4 resorts in southern Spain. 

Compleat Angler Exterior