The Profumo Affair (UK)

The Profumo Affair

The Profumo Affair was a political scandal in the United Kingdom that occurred in 1963, involving the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, and his extramarital affair with a young woman named Christine Keeler.

In 1961, John Profumo, a member of the British Conservative Party and an influential politician, began an affair with Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old model and dancer. Unbeknownst to Profumo, Keeler was also involved with Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché and alleged spy. This connection raised concerns about the potential risk to national security, as it was feared that Keeler could be passing sensitive information to the Soviet Union through her relationship with Ivanov.

The affair became public knowledge in March 1963 when it was revealed in the press. Profumo initially denied the allegations in a statement to the House of Commons, claiming that there had been “no impropriety” in his relationship with Keeler. However, as more details emerged, the pressure mounted, and Profumo ultimately confessed to the affair in June 1963. He resigned from his position as Secretary of State for War and from his parliamentary seat.

The scandal severely damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government, contributing to the Conservatives’ defeat in the general election held in October 1964. The Profumo Affair remains one of the most notorious political scandals in British history and has been the subject of various books, films, and television series, including the 1989 film “Scandal.”