The profumo affair

In the dark early 1960s, at least we had the Beatles

‘These things start on my birthday – like the Warsaw Uprising – and spoil my day,’ wrote the understandably self-pitying Barking housewife Pat Scott in her diary on the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. ‘And then to spoil it more, Ted [her husband] took his driving test for the second time and failed.’ It is clashes like these, of the personal and humdrum against the political and global, that make David Kynaston’s close surveys of Britain in the second half of the 20th century such fascinating and lively documents. Yes, the world might be about to end, but that was no excuse to spoil Pat’s

My battle to clear Christine Keeler’s name

This July will mark 60 years since the beginning of the chapter in our nation’s history known as the ‘Profumo scandal.’ It was this unhappy episode in which my mother Christine Sloane, formerly Christine Keeler, had a starring role, and is credited with the fall of Harold Macmillan’s government. The story of that affair is well known: Chris met John Profumo, the secretary of state for war, at a summer pool party at Cliveden. She found herself the focus of the world’s press attention two years later when her relationship with the Tory MP became public knowledge. She had also briefly been with a Soviet called Yevgeny Ivanov, prompting feverish claims that