The Profumo Affair
Accused: John Profumo
Charges: Extramarital affair
One of the biggest political scandals in Britain, the Profumo Affair is named after the accused, John Profumo. He was the Secretary of State for War during Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's
tenure. When the Cold War was at its height, Profumo was accused of having an affair with London "party girl" Christine Keeler
. He was already married to actress Valerie Hobson
. Profumo met Keeler in 1961 at a house party at the Buckinghamshire mansion. However, the relationship lasted for only a few weeks, but the circumstances at that time made the scandal popular. It was only in 1962 that the scandal became public alongside the rumors of Keeler already having an affair with Yevgeny "Eugene" Ivanov
, a senior naval attaché at the Soviet embassy in London. However, it was Keeler's non-appearance at the Court in another case that led to her affair with Profumo becoming public. When Profumo was initially questioned, he refused to accept the charges. But, when Peter Wright
was assigned to question Keeler over security matters, the scandal came to light. Keeler, during the questioning, used the term "nuclear payload", which was unknown to the public. This made Wright realize that Profumo, during his adulterous relationship, may have revealed many secrets, which may have been passed on to the Soviet attaché by Keeler. Following this, Profumo was again questioned, and this time, he accepted to have lied in the House of Commons.
» He was forced to resign from his position in 1963.