Former model Christine Keeler, 71, is unrecognisable as she pulls her shopping trolley 50 years after the Profumo affair
- Former showgirl was once one of the world's most photographed beauties
- Her sexual liaisons with Tory Minister John Profumo and a Russian attache led to one of the biggest political scandals of modern times
- She now lives in a sheltered accommodation block in South London
Dressed in a shapeless top and sandals and pulling a plastic shopping trolley, it is difficult to imagine that this woman was once one of the world's most photographed – and infamous – beauties. But the pensioner pictured here is Christine Keeler. Her sexual liaisons 50 years ago with Tory Minister John Profumo and a Russian military attache based in London led to one of the biggest political scandals of modern times.
This is the first time Keeler has been photographed in public for seven years, and the 71-year-old is unrecognisable from the fresh-faced model and showgirl who found herself embroiled in Profumo affair in 1963.
Humble lifestyle: The former model Christine Keeler pictured out shopping near her home. Although she reveled in her notoriety at the time and sold her story to newspapers all over the world, Ms Keeler now lives in a sheltered accommodation block in South London, and is estranged from her two sons.
Beauty: Keeler in her prime back in 1964
In an interview last year to publicise her latest book about the affair that rocked the British Establishment, she said: 'My children don't want to be associated with that bloody whore Christine Keeler. It's awful but that's the way it is.'
The scandal happened at the height of the Cold War when it was discovered that Keeler had been sleeping with both Profumo, the then Conservative Minister for War, and Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attache based at the Russian Embassy in London.
Keeler and Profumo began their affair after being introduced at a party at the Cliveden estate in 1961 by their mutual friend Stephen Ward, a high-society osteopath and portrait-painter.
Profumo, who was married to actress Valerie Hobson, had no idea that Keeler was also sleeping with Ivanov. In March 1963 he told the House of Commons that rumours of his affair were untrue, but he was forced to resign three months later after admitting he had lied.
Ward, who was prosecuted for living off immoral earnings, took an overdose the day before his trial ended and died on August 3, 1963. Keeler was found guilty of unrelated perjury charges and was sentenced to nine months in prison.
The passage of time has done little to diminish the public's fascination with the scandal. Andrew Lloyd Webber has written a musical, Stephen Ward, due to open in December. It is understood Keeler declined to co-operate with the project.
-- sent by my friend Turo Ziadie