Inside the Profumo affair – sex, spies and scandal that tarnished the Tories

The Profumo Affair was one of the biggest scandals in British political history, leading to jail sentences, suicide and the fall of a government.

John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government, had a torrid affair with 19-year-old model Christine Keeler beginning in 1961.

A stack of black-and-white press photos that document the sex and spies scandal that caused the fall of the once a rising star of the Conservative government.

Initially, Profumo denied the affair in a statement to the House of Commons, but weeks later a police investigation exposed the truth, causing severe damage to the credibility of Macmillan's government.

The disgraced minister was later snapped looking humiliated as he drives away from Parliament and out of politics.

After the Profumo affair intrigued the public interest, reports emerged that Keeler may have been simultaneously involved with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché, posing a possible national security risk.

An inquiry by a senior judge, Lord Denning, initially concluded that there had been no breaches of security arising from the Ivanov connection, but it was later described as superficial and unsatisfactory.

The damage to the reputation of the Conservatives lead to Harold Macmillan resigning as Prime Minister in October 1963, due to ill health which is cited as the cause for the Labour Party's win in the 1964 general election.

However, these politicians and 'It Girls' were just players in the game as the man at the centre of it all, Steven Ward was the only person who didn’t survive it.

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The gifted osteopath, who once counted stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra faced trial for living off the immoral earnings of Christine Keeler and another woman involved in the scandal.

Both Profumo and Ivanov through her friendship with Ward, who had taken her under his wing – which was known to Christine.

Keeler asserted that Stephen Ward was in fact a Russian spy and had amassed information about British establishment figures and informing Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

But he did not live to hear the verdict – he took a fatal overdose the night before the judge finished summing up his case.

Ward’s death was ruled as suicide in coroners court.

He left several notes, one of which read: “I feel the day is lost. The ritual sacrifice is demanded and I cannot face it.”

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Ward appeared to be the scapegoat for everyone else's antics – which shook everyone in the country including the royal family.

Keeler also claimed that the late Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was unfaithful to the Queen and alleged that he was linked with Steven Ward after nightclubs together in the 1940s.

After the Profumo scandal erupted, a series of portraits were discovered at Ward's home – which included members of the Royal Family such as Prince Philip and the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.

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