She is, of course, the working-class beauty who brought down a government.
As a Sixties party girl, Christine Keeler was at the centre of a political scandal which destroyed the married War Minister John Profumo’s career and brought down Harold Macmillan’s Tory administration.

Now, almost half a century after her scandalous affair with ­Profumo resulted in his disgrace, new photographs which show her in her bewitching prime are published for the first time.
Katy Carr loves Christine Keeler

Youthful promise: Sixteen-year-old Keeler in an early modelling shot by an unknown photographer

Christine Keeler: My Life in Pictures is at the Mayor Gallery, Cork street, London W1, from November 3 to December 17.
Her beauty then could not be in greater contrast to her appearance today.
At 68, she wears her cares heavily, after nearly five decades of being vilified as a common prostitue who brought down a respected politician.

Keeler, who rarely gives interviews or speaks of the past, gave permission to her friend of 17 years, curator James Birch, to exhibit these photographs from her private collection to remind people of the woman she was before the scandal that over­shadowed her life.

She saw herself as a party girl, who just liked to have fun. I think she feels she was the real ­victim of the scandal, a scapegoat for people to blame.

Youthful exuberance: An early photo taken by her stepfather In the driving seat: Keeler aged 18 in 1960, when she worked as a showgirl at Murray’s Cabaret Club in London

‘Through my friendship with Christine I have found her to be a lovely, warm, unassuming woman.’

Certainly these private photographs show a young woman who, say friends, regarded her beauty as a passport to a better life.
A runaway teenager from the Berkshire village of Wraysbury, it was at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho where, as a topless showgirl, she met society osteopath Dr Stephen Ward.

Also on display at the exhibition are the original pamphlets advertising the club’s services.

Ward recruited Christine Keeler as one of the ‘girls’ he used to wield influence among his well-connected friends.

It was in July 1961 that she met John Profumo at a pool party in Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire ­mansion owned by Lord Astor.
Profumo started an affair with the young Christine, unaware that she was also sleeping with Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy and reportedly a spy.
When the truth was exposed two years later, prompting Profumo’s resignation and an official inquiry by Lord Denning, Keeler was dismissed as nothing more than a ‘tart’.

But these photographs show a carefree young woman, who possessed a breathtaking beauty.
Had she used it wisely, she might have become a trophy wife instead of a pariah. But at 19, according to friends, ‘she had no idea what she was getting herself into’.

Christine Keeler toplessNaked ambition: Keeler posed for risque shots ahead of her appearances at Murray’s Cabaret Club in London

Artist Caroline Coon, a friend since the Sixties, once said: ‘Every man who met her wanted her and those who couldn’t have her wanted to punish her.

‘She was a highly decorative, kind and charming woman who made her way in the world by making old, aristocratic men happy.’
John Profumo died in 2006, aged 91, having redeemed himself with a lifetime’s devotion to charity work. He was awarded the CBE in 1975 and was a guest at Margaret Thatcher’s 80th birthday. He never spoke of the scandal that ruined him.

Ground rules: The menu cover and a list of services offered at Murray’s Cabaret Club where Keeler worked

Keeler’s careworn appearance today reflects a life which could not be further removed from the glamour of her youth — she has been divorced twice and consigned to a life of ­poverty in a succession of grim flats.

Will she attend the opening of the new exhibition on Wednesday to revisit her glory days? Mr Birch will only say: ‘She has been invited, but whether she would prefer to forget the past remains to be seen.’
Christine Keeler: My Life in Pictures is at the Mayor Gallery, Cork street, London W1, from November 3 to December 17.

  1. katycarr says:

    Christine Keeler is a complete dude and I think she is great – I always walk past wimpole mews thinking about her and the time she spent there — good on you Christine and I hope that you are able to live and retire in peace you deserve to be happy x x kc

  2. katycarr says:

    Unseen letters, photos of Christine Keeler on show
    Christine Keeler
    ‘Profumo affair’ callgirl thought jail was ‘just like school’
    Christine Keeler, the notorious ‘Profumo affair’ callgirl, was immortalised in the iconic 1963 photo showing her sitting astride a chair naked. But a new exhibition of photos, letters and memorabilia promises to show Keeler as the public’s never seen her before, as well as revealing the young woman’s aspirations for a post-jail celebrity career.
    Some 70 previously unseen images include photos of Christine Keeler relaxing in a South Downs field (above), nibbling on a chicken leg and wearing a bikini. Another photo shows Keeler at one of the many infamous parties at Cliveden House, where the 19-year-old met Tory war minister John Profumo. Her affair with Profumo scandalised 1960s Britain, particularly after it transpired she was having a siumltaneous affair with Russian naval attache Eugene Ivanov.
    Some of the letters, meanwhile, reveal Keeler’s hopes to translate her notoriety into fame and fortune after serving nine months for perjury at Holloway Prison. Writing to her mother from her jail cell in 1964 – some 35 years before the Big Brother generation decided celebrity was a valid career option – Keeler quips: “I am only young and should start on a career of some sort seeing my name is well known. I might as well carry on with it and make us lots of money ha! ha!”
    In an earlier letter, written soon after she began her jail term in December 1963, Keeler tries to reassure her parents that she is coping in prison: “Don’t worry, I’m fine, in fact it’s just like being back at school, and there is a girl I went to school with.”
    Keeler, who was brought up by her mother and stepfather in two converted railway carriages in Berkshire, never managed to find the riches she hoped for. Now 68, she ended up living in a series of council flats.
    The exhibition, ‘Christine Keeler: my life in pictures’ is on at London’s Mayor Gallery from November 4 to December 17.

  3. Jan Ivánek says:

    Please hand over my congratulation lady Christine: Christine Keeler was and continue to be beautiful. She is a famous model from England. In of his day become symbol sexual revolution. Of the day 22. February 2012 She celebrated 70 anniversary. I wish lady Christine much health and fair weather to the of other years. Have the honour her admirer and big fan. Jan Ivánek, 252 09 Hradištko 168, district Prague – west, Czech Republic

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