"I did betray my country": Fifty years after Profumo's resignation, Christine Keeler confesses she passed secrets to Russians.
By Leon Watson
Daily Mail, 9th June 2013
“I betrayed my country”: Christine Keeler, pictured last year
The woman at the centre of one of Britain's most notorious Cold War spy scandals has admitted for the first time that she betrayed her country.
Fifty years after the Profumo affair erupted, Christine Keeler, now 71, has confessed she played a role in a high-placed spy ring.
Keeler claims she helped her friend, osteopath Stephen Ward - whose clients included Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor - uncover secrets about missile movements in the West that were later passed to the Soviets.
In a new book, she says: 'However I dress it up, I was a spy and I am not proud of it. The truth is that I betrayed my country.
'I tried to block it out – I was too scared. Just by admitting that for the first time I have freed myself of an enormously heavy emotional burden.'
The scandal hit the headlines after seven shots were fired at a house in a quiet Marylebone mews by a jilted boyfriend of Keeler in December 1962.
It then emerged the then 19-year-old Keeler had been sleeping with former Secretary of State for War John Profumo , then 48, and a handsome Russian spy Yevgeny Ivanov .
The orgy-loving playboy Ward, it seemed, was the ringmaster who introduced everyone.
But when news of the Profumo -Keeler- Ivanov love triangle broke 18 months later, Profumo lied to the House of Commons about his affair. He was soon found out and Keeler sold her story to the News of The World for £23,000.
In June 1963, he quit in disgrace, amid allegations Keeler had been asked by Ivanov to discover from the War Minister when the West Germans might receive U.S. nuclear missiles to be stationed on their soil.
Profumo had been a rising star of the Tory Party, close to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a favoured visitor at Buckingham Palace, a war hero and the dashing husband of actress Valerie Hobson, one of the great beauties of her day.
But Keeler, whose other lovers have included A-Team actor George Peppard , legendary womaniser Warren Beatty and Prisoner of Zenda star Douglas Fairbanks Jr , says the Establishment was far more interested in painting it as a sex scandal and chose to ignore claims of a widespread spying network.
Quoted in the Sunday Mirror, Keeler says: 'I know the truth and it is far more shocking than what the public has been fed by the British Establishment. Sex was a game - spying was a serious business.
'Far better that the Establishment be caught with its pants down than involved in stealing secrets. That was the thinking .'
Dr Stephen Ward and Christine Keeler (bottom left) with friends Grundie Heiber and Sally Norrie (right)
Heart of the scandal: John Profumo (left), the War Minister who resigned after his affair with Keeler (right) wrecked his career and marriage
Christine Keeler (right) and Mandy Rice Davies leave the Old Bailey after the first day of the Ward trial concerning the Profumo scandal
The consequences for the Tory party were catastrophic and Macmillan's Cabinet was shaken by the revelations.
Tales of organised orgies followed, including whipping parties at a house in Mayfair where, it was said, one of the guests became over-excited and died of a heart attack.
Lord Denning released the government's official report on September 25, 1963, and the Prime Minister stepped down due to ill-health not long after. The Tories were then voted out the following year.
THE PROFUMO AFFAIR: SCANDAL THAT ROCKED THE ESTABLISHMENT
The Profumo affair was considered emblematic of the early 1960s, a time when the traditional British way of life was rapidly being replaced by modern customs.
John Profumo was forced to resign as Secretary of State for War in 1963 after it emerged that he had lied to Parliament about his relationship with model and showgirl Christine Keeler.
The Conservative minister was 27 years older than his lover, and was married to actress Valerie Hobson.
The scandal was even believed to endanger national security when it was revealed that Ms Keeler was also having an affair with Soviet spy Yevgeny Ivanov, as well as notorious drug dealer Johnny Edgecombe.
When Harold Macmillan resigned as Prime Minister later that year, his decision was widely thought to be linked to the fall-out from the affair.
Profumo, who died in 2006, devoted the rest of his life to rehabilitating his reputation through charity work.
Keeler said her spying had begun in 1961, before she even met Profumo. She says Ward asked her to deliver an envelope to the Russian Embassy in London. He told her Yevgeny Ivanov was expecting it for their bridge game.
But Keeler is now convinced she unwittingly helped pass on secrets that could have ultimately harmed the country.
On July 8, 1961, Ward took her to Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire – the ancestral pile owned by Lord Astor – where Profumo first showed his interest in her after seeing her swim naked.
According to her book, Keeler claims Ward used that first meeting to steal secret letters from Profumo's briefcase, detailing the delivery of nuclear weapons to Germany.
Her affair with Profumo began days later and she claims Ward immediately asked her to find out through pillow talk when the nuclear warheads were being moved to Germany.
In December 1962, the police were called to Ward's home when another of Christine's ex-lovers, Johnny Edgecombe, fired shots at the lock while she and showgirl pal Mandy Rice-Davies cowered inside.
The police investigation led to Ward's arrest and charges for living off immoral earnings and the revelation of Christine's affair with Profumo.
Ward committed suicide before a verdict in the case was reached. She was sentenced to six months in jail for perjury.
She said she was a 'stupid young girl' and did not fully understand she was doing anything to harm her country.
Speaking of Ward, Keeler said she was recruited by 'a clever, charismatic but dangerous man' and admitted she was flattered by the attention she got from Profumo, who had a 'natural style' about him.