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!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • 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.