Christine Keeler, UK Scandal Girl Of The '60s: Young, Hot, And Maybe A Spy

By | February 20, 2020

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Christine Keeler arriving at the Old Bailey, London, 1963. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

In the early '60s, Christine Keeler was a young model with some powerful lovers, most famously John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, and Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attache at the Soviet embassy in London. The discovery that the head of Britain's military and a Soviet military official were sleeping with the same woman -- in the midst of the Cold War -- ranks among the biggest scandals of the 20th century. The notoriety and confusion -- was she a spy? did she know what she was doing? had she passed secrets to the Soviets? -- made Keeler a celebrity. Whether she was an unwitting pawn or real-life Bond Girl, Keeler gained a mystique that made her a strange kind of icon in the Swinging London scene.

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Source: (Business Insider)

Christine Keeler was from Uxbridge, Middlesex England. Her mother and stepfather raised her in two unused train cars. As a teenager, she was sexually abused by her mother’s partner and his friends. By 15, she was working as a model in a dress shop in Soho and two years later, had a son after a short-lived relationship with a US Air Force Sergeant. The child, who was born at home, died six days after birth. That same year, she began working as a topless showgirl at a cabaret club in Soho. She met Stephen Ward there and began living with him, although she said it was a platonic relationship. She has also said that Ward, an osteopath and amateur artist, was working as a double agent, passing state secrets along to the KGB. Ward later introduced her to John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War under Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who was married to Valerie Hobson at the time. Keelet and Profumo's first meeting occurred in Cliveden in 1961, at the home of Lord Astor, who was sleeping with Keeler’s friend Mandy Rice-Davies. Once Keeler and Profumo’s short-lived affair began, they met at Ward’s home in Marylebone. There were whispers about their affair before it became public.