|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Movie star, cabinet minister said to be 'headless' lovers of duchess in old photo
LONDON -- The identities of two lovers of the late British heiress and socialite Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, have been revealed 37 years after compromising photographs of the trio ended her marriage and sparked a UK government investigation, according to a British TV programme.
The two men, who are also dead, are named in the programme as U.S. actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr and British cabinet minister Duncan Sandys.
The sexually explicit photographs, in which the men's faces could not be seen, were taken in 1957 on a Polaroid camera - then a new invention. The only camera of its kind in Britain at the time had been on loan to the Ministry of Defence - the department where Sandys worked.
The Channel 4 programme, Secret History: The Duchess and the Headless Man, says that Lord Denning, the then Master of the Rolls, investigated the handwriting on captions with the photographs and identified the Hollywood legend, once married to Joan Crawford.
Fairbanks Jr died this year aged 90. The duchess died in 1993.
The programme bases its findings on unpublished documents made by Denning, the nation's most senior Law Lord at the time. He had been carrying out an inquiry into general security following the resignation of the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo.
Profumo's downfall, which involved lying about a relationship he had with prostitute Christine Keeler and her association with a Soviet politician, had already rocked Harold Macmillan's Conservative government.
Duchess 'had 88 lovers'
The Duchess of Argyll slept with 88 men including two cabinet ministers and three members of the British royal family, said her husband Ian during the couple's divorce case in 1963.
Programme producer Dan Corn told CNN.com: "These people were at a level of society that enjoyed decadence and hedonism. They were among a group of people who went to big parties, took their clothes off and had orgies.
"The technical innovation of the Polaroid camera enabled them to avoid sending films to developers. They were able to take kinky pictures to look at later."
Corn added that Lady Colin Campbell, step-daughter-in-law of the Duchess of Argyll, was sympathetic because the duchess was the only child of a self-made Scottish textile millionaire and a lot of her inherited money went to the Duke of Argyll. He then used it, said Corn, to refurbish Inverary Castle in Scotland.
"He expected the duchess to be closeted up in the castle and that was just not her style," added Corn.
Corn said the Macmillan's government was not ready for the so-called Swinging Sixties. "Conservative politics was then the preserve of the country and City set and they were not ready for the sexual revolution which took place."
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.