She had allegedly pursued simultaneous affairs with a British defense secretary and a Soviet naval attaché. The scandal rocked Britain at the height of the Cold War.
Christine Keeler, the model and showgirl whose love affairs during the Cold War almost brought down the British government in the early 1960s, has died aged 75.
Her son, Seymour Platt, announced on Facebook that she had died at a hospital near Farnborough in southern England.
“My mother, the grandmother to my beautiful little girl, passed away late last night,” he wrote Tuesday evening. “She suffered in the last few years with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease but lost the fight.”
The secretary, the showgirl and the spy
Keeler allegedly had an affair with British Scretary of State for War John Profumo in 1963.
But it emerged that the then 19-year-old had also slept with a Soviet naval attaché linked to Soviet intelligence services.
The resulting scandal — dubbed the “Profumo Affair” — seriously undermined the Conservative government under Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
Profumo, a married man, later resigned after it emerged that he had lied to the British Parliament about his sexual relationship with Keeler.
Escaping the past
Keeler served a nine-month prison sentence after being convicted of perjury and conspiring to obstruct justice for her role in the affair.
She tried to avoid the public eye in the decades that followed, marrying twice and having two sons.
“Some fights she lost but some she won,” Seymour said. “She earned her place in British history but at a huge personal price. We are all very proud of who she was.”