Monday, 11 July 2005

The Duchess of Argyll and the Headless Men




1963 was a year of scandal for British politics. The Profumo case nearly brought the government down and as if that wasn't enough, Duncan Sandys, the son-in-law of Winston Churchill announced that he was going to resign because of some nasty rumours that had been spread about him. What where these rumours about?

Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, was the daughter of a Scottish millionaire. She was brought up in lavish surroundings and had all that she asked for. In the inter-war years she married a wealthy American stockbroker and several years later, during the war, she stepped into an empty lift shaft and suffered horrible injuries. Amazingly she recovered and was able to walk again. However, it was said that her personality had acquired a new trait; she had become utterly promiscuous. Her appetite was said to be insatiable. In 1947 she got a divorce. Shortly afterwars, she met Ian Campbell, the future Duke of Argyll. Margaret wanted a title and Ian needed her cash. The result was their marriage in 1951. Margaret embarked on numerous affairs, many of them simultaneously. The Duke became suspicious. In 1963 he went to her Mayfair flat, while she was away and serached her bedroom. There he found details of a multitude of affairs she had had and was having. She had written about them in her diaries apparently. As if that wasn't enough he also found a Polaroid camera and some photographs she had taken in her bathroom. They showed her wearing nothing but her pearl necklace while performing fellatio on a man. The photos showed him at different states of arousal and each one had a caption on it: "before" - "thinking of you" - "during" - "oh" - "finished", which are really self-explanatory. Upon searching even further, the Duke found more photographs of a man masturbating. The images were all headless.
The Duke of Argyll filed for divorce. In court, he stated the name sof 88 men whom he felt his wife had taken as lovers. The Polaroid photos were used as evidence of Margaret's promiscuous behaviour and Duncan Sandys was rumoured to be either one or both of the men in the pictures.

The Prime Minister persuaded Sandys not to resign and had him sent off to a Harley street doctor in order to have his pubic hair examined. The doctor concluded that Sandy's pubic hair was not the same as that of the man in the photographs. He was in the clear.

The 88 men were narrowed down to 5 and then requested to sign a visitors register. A graphologist was then deployed to establ;ish which one had written the notorious captions. The headless man proved to be teh American actor Douglas Fairbanks Junior, who was also married. Fairbanks never admitted he was the one but the Duke got his divorce. Margaret sank into poverty. Just before she died at teh age of 80, she told a friend: "Of course, sweetie, the only Polaroid camera in the country at this time had been lent to the Ministry of Defence." The said pictures had been taken in 1957 and at that time Duncan Sandys had been the Minister of Defence...

11 comments:

Bystander said...

I was seventeen in 1963. Politics has never seemed the same since.

Alterior said...

You were at such an impressionable age too.. ;-))

Peter said...

'the Headless Men' seems an unfortunate and not entirely accurate choice of words for this story. ^_^

Alterior said...

It was not my choice of words. The newspapers / tabloids of the day chose it. ;-)

Nick said...

I believe that at the time a newspaper ran a front-page headline of a group of holiday-makers queuing for a pleasure cruise on the Clyde next to a sign reading Queue Here For 'The Duchess of Argyll'.

Nick said...

Presumably Duncan Sandys was the man behind the camera, Fairbanks the man in front. Margaret was quite a girl . . .

Alterior said...

Hahahahaha! That is funny! :-))) It must have been a long queue!

Anonymous said...

Forays said:
Margaget was not the only guilty one, her husband "Wee Ian" wrote a detailed story of their marriage for one of the gutter papers.

Anonymous said...

Margaret's behavior veered from the sublime to the ridiculous. The court case following the "Headless Man" affair alleged that 80 had been the number of her lovers over the years.
At the same time she brought great pressure to bear on her RC daughter, the Duchess of Rutland to bring up the Rutland heir, Granby, as a Catholic. This was despite the fact that Duke, her husband was a member of the Church of England.As the Duchess broke off the chains of Margaret's dominance, Granby quietly returned to the religion of his family and ancestors. There was bitterness among the Rutlands for some time afterwards.

Anonymous said...

where can I find the pictures??? Kidding

Anonymous said...

how times have changed, all that fuss over a blow job! good for Mrs Sweeney