Christine Keeler dead: Model at centre of Profumo Affair dies aged 75

Scandal rocked the political establishment and forced cabinet minister to resign

Benjamin Kentish
Tuesday 05 December 2017 20:46
Christine Keeler: Ex-showgirl at centre of Profumo scandal dies

Christine Keeler, the model who became embroiled in one of the biggest political scandals in decades after having an affair with Conservative MP John Profumo, has died at the age of 75.

Keeler was romantically involved with a Soviet military officer at the same time as her 1960s liaison with Profumo, who was at the time the Secretary of State for War.

The scandal became known as the Profumo affair and forced the MP to resign from the Government and from Parliament.

Keeler passed away on Monday at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough after battling illness for several months, according to relatives.

Her son told Sky News: “I hope we now live in a time where we stop blaming women for the urges of men.”

After her involvement in the affair that rocked British politics and played a role in the fall of Harold Macmillan’s Government, Keeler married twice and had two sons: James from her first marriage and Seymour from her second.

Aged 19 at the time of the scandal, Keeler was working as a model and cabaret dancer when she met Profumo at a pool party at Lord Astor’s country estate of Cliveden. They were introduced by socialite and osteopath Stephen Ward.

At the time, Keeler was also in a relationship with Yevgeny Ivanov, an official at the Soviet embassy in London, which prompted fears at the height of the Cold War that national security secrets could have been compromised. Both the MP and the model denied that suggestion.

Profumo initially told Parliament there had been “no impropriety” in his relationship with Keeler but was later forced to admit to the affair and resign.

After resigning as an MP, Profumo dedicated his life to charity work and was awarded a CBE in 1975. He died in 2006, aged 91.

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