Could Gorgeous Mystery Woman Shed Light on Cold War Sex Scandal?

Sketch Might Provide Break in British Profumo Affair

national portrait gallery

By Reuters

Published May 01, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

She has dark eyes, full lips and short hair in one of the favourite styles of London in the “swinging 60s” but who is she?

And could she help shed light on the infamous Profumo scandal, the heady tale of espionage, sex and politics that held Britain spellbound in the early 1960s and helped bring down the government of the time.

Britain’s National Portrait Gallery is appealing for help in identifying a woman who was sketched by one of the scandal’s key figures, Stephen Ward, on the back of a picture of the woman at the centre of the Profumo affair, showgirl Christine Keeler.

“This drawing is of me by Stephen Ward,” wrote Keeler in a 1975 note. “I don’t know who the girl on the back is - she is somebody we just picked up at a bus-stop.”

The gallery believes the mystery woman may have been present at the first meeting in 1961 between Keeler and John Profumo, the then minister for war.

Against a backdrop of hedonistic parties and naked swimming sessions in the pool of an English stately home, the two embarked on a brief affair that ended in scandal and disgrace.

Not only was Profumo married, it was widely alleged that Keeler had also been the girlfriend of the Soviet naval attache in London, Yevgeny Ivanov.

To have the war minister’s name linked to such a figure at the height of the Cold War was political dynamite. Profumo lied about the affair in parliament and was eventually forced to resign in 1963, leaving then Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to cope with the damaging repercussions.

Macmillan also resigned in 1963, citing poor health.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.