NATIONAL: Profumo affair showgirl Christine Keeler dies

Christine Keeler, the former showgirl at the heart of the Profumo affair which rocked the Establishment in the 1960s, has died aged 75.

Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 8:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:09 am
Christine Keeler
Christine Keeler

Her son Seymour Platt said she died late on Monday night, having suffered from a lung disease for the last few years.

Ms Keeler had been a patient at the Princess Royal University Hospital, near Farnborough, before her death, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Mr Platt paid tribute to his mother in a Facebook post last night.

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Christine Keeler

"My mother, the grandmother to my beautiful little girl, passed away late last night," he wrote.

"She suffered in the last few years with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease but lost the fight.

"As many of you know my mother, Christine Keeler, fought many fights in her eventful life, some fights she lost but some she won.

"She earned her place in British history but at a huge personal price.

Christine Keeler

"We are all very proud of who she was."

Ms Keeler was at the centre of the 1963 political scandal, which enthralled and scandalised the nation, after having an affair with then-Secretary of State for War John Profumo.

He was forced to quit his job following lurid disclosures of high-society sex parties and claims he had shared his mistress with a Soviet defence attache.

Douglas Thompson - the journalist and author who worked with Ms Keeler on her memoir The Truth At Last - spoke of his "shock" after hearing of her death.

He remembered his friend fondly as a "funny and bright" woman, who he described as "one of the most honest people I have ever met".

"She believed absolutely everything she ever said about the Profumo affair," he told the Press Association.

"She said what she thought," he continued. "I think that honesty is very surprising."

Mr Thompson, who updated the book, published as Secrets And Lies in 2012, following the death of John Profumo, described Ms Keeler as a "victim of the time", adding that she would probably have had her own TV show had the scandal happened today.

"The interesting thing about her is she tried to escape it," he said.

"I don't think she ever got away from it - that was a tragedy."

Mr Thompson added: "She could never stop being Christine Keeler."

Ealing North MP Stephen Pound knew Christine Keeler through his journalist father Pelham Pound who was a friend of society osteopath Stephen Ward.

It was Mr Ward who introduced Miss Keeler to John Profumo during a weekend at Lord Astor's Cliveden estate in Buckinghamshire.

Mr Pound told the Press Association: "I first met her as a 15 year old in 1963 and then years later as a Hammersmith housing officer trying to stop her getting evicted from the West Ken Estate.

"She was still heartstoppingly beautiful."