Where Are They Now? Christine Keeler and the Profumo Affair Part 2

About the English figure Christine Keeler, history and biography of the woman behind the Profumo Affair that brought down the Tory Government.

Headline--1963: CHRISTINE KEELER

Now, all hell broke loose. On March 22, 1963, Profumo denied that he had ever been to bed with Christine Keeler. But a London paper was in possession of a letter he had written to Christine. It was addressed to "Darling," and seemed to contradict his testimony. Stephen Ward then sent a letter to Prime Minister Macmillan's private secretary, and the contents became known to the House of Commons. A full investigation by British MI-5 intelligence showed that "Honeybear" Ivanov had asked Christine to find out from Profumo when nuclear warheads would be delivered to West Germany. The purpose was to forestall a U.S. U.S.S.R. showdown over the Cuban missile crisis. By the time of the trial, Ivanov had been recalled to Moscow, where he was committed to a mental institution. (He has not been heard of since.)

By the summer of 1963, the Profumo affair was cafe and bar talk the world over. Profumo confessed to having had an affair and resigned in early June. Within days, Ward was stopped in his white Jaguar and arrested by Scotland Yard. Released on a bail equivalent to $8,400, Ward was ordered to stand trial on 8 counts, the charges ranging from running a brothel to arranging for abortions. The trial itself, in July and August, was a kind of Rabelaisian Miss Universe pageant, with a parade of vivacious hookers taking the stand and swapping stories of 2-way mirrors, bacchanales with whips and marijuana, and even mention of a naked, masked, male "host" whose real identity was too sensitive for the world to know. The stars of the extravaganza were Vickie Barrett (nee Janet Barker), Mandy Rice-Davies, and Christine Keeler. Christine herself told how Ward had dubbed her a "modeling assistant" for the purpose of luring shopgirls into his call-girl cotillion. Ward enjoyed sticking his tongue out at the press during the trial, but committed suicide just as the jury was instructed to hand in a verdict.

Christine's personal life was further exposed in the Old Bailey by conflicting accounts of her affair with Jamaican jazz singer Aloysius "Lucky" Gordon. In a sober state, Christine testified that Gordon had beaten her up in April, after her return from Spain. Gordon retorted that all he got from her in return for marijuana was VD. In a drunken tape-recorded confession, Christine finally admitted that Gordon was not guilty of the assault charge, and he was released. In December, 1963, Christine was sentenced to 9 months for perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice. "All I want," she said tearfully after the court adjourned, "is for everyone to let me be a normal girl again." But by then she had purchased a Georgian house, valued at that time at $39,000, after selling her spicy story to the press.

And Today: Christine's name has rarely been in the press the last several years. It is known that she married engineer James Levermore and bore his son Jimmy. Levermore later filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion. In the late '60s, Christine seems to have taken up with such bohemian Londoners as Penelope Tree and Marianne Faithfull. A Washington reporter for the London Observer said that he spoke with Christine Keeler in 1973, when she was settling into a new flat in Chelsea--but he suspects she has moved since.

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