Topless photographs of Christine Keeler sell for £7,000

Topless photos of Christine Keeler taken three years after her affair with John Profumo was exposed sell at auction for almost £7,000

  • Two photographs of Christine Keeler were taken following her release from jail
  • The photographs were taken three years after the infamous Profumo scandal 
  • She had a notorious affair with John Profumo, Tory Secretary of State for War
  • He was forced to retire from public life after he misled the House of Commons

Two risque photos of Christine Keeler which had never been seen publicly until they went on sale in October have sold for almost £7,000.

They are believed to have been taken by an unknown photographer in 1966, three years after the infamous Profumo scandal that is currently being dramatised on BBC1. 

One photo shows the topless model wearing just a pair of trousers with her arms folded to cover her modesty.

Pictures show a 24-year-old Christine Keeler wearing just trousers with her arms folded to cover her modesty. The photographs sold at auction for almost £7,000

A third photo taken in 1964 shows Keeler eating a chicken drumstick following her release from prison

An even more revealing snap, seemingly from the same shoot, depicts her in a matching outfit with her bare back to the camera.

Keeler rose to national prominence when her affair with the married Secretary of State for War John Profumo was exposed in 1963.

Profumo initally denied the affair but admitted it weeks later and resigned from his position.

The scandal, one of the biggest of the 20th century, contributed to the Conservatives’ defeat by the Labour Party in the 1964 general election.

Pictured: Christine Keeler had an affair with Tory Secretary of State for War in the 1960s

The images were consigned for sale by James Birch, an art dealer who became friends with Keeler in the early 1990s. It is thought that she gave the photos to him personally.

Mr Birch held a selling exhibition of around 70 photos of Keeler in 2010 but chose not to include these two photos in it.

The photos sparked fervent bidding when they went under the hammer with auctioneer Sworders, of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.

They achieved a combined hammer price of £5,300, with extra fees taking the overall sum handed over to £6,700.

Mark Wilkinson, specialist at Sworders, said: ‘The vendor was friends with Keeler and we believe she gave him the photos.

‘He held an exhibition of her photos in 2010 but we don’t believe the topless images featured so they have remained unseen.

‘They are great, very striking photos and she was on of the most famous figures of the era.’

Keeler, who had been working as a showgirl at a cabaret club when she was introduced to Profumo, died aged 75 in 2017. 

Sophie Cookson, pictured, plays Christine Keeler in the hit BBC 1 drama dealing with the affair

Who was Christine Keeler and what was the Profumo affair?

Born in Middlesex, Christine Keeler moved to London as a teenager and began working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho. 

It was there she met Dr Stephen Ward, a high-flying London osteopath and fixer who ‘procured women’ for leading members of the Establishment, who introduced her to Conservative Minister John Profumo while at a party thrown by Lord and Lady Astor in 1961.

The pair hit the headlines after seven shots were fired at Ward’s house in a quiet Marylebone mews by a jilted boyfriend of Keeler a year later in December 1962.

Ms Keeler’s other lovers have included A-Team actor George Peppard, legendary womaniser Warren Beatty and Prisoner of Zenda star Douglas Fairbanks Jr

Ms Keeler, pictured, met Conservative minister Profumo – 27 years her senior – after leaving her home in Middlesex and working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho

Ms Keeler, pictured right, in a vehicle with her friend Mandy Rice-Davies, who was also implicated in the scandal surrounding the affair

It emerged the then 19-year-old Keeler had been sleeping with former Secretary of State for War John Profumo, then 48, and at the same time a handsome Russian spy Evgeny Ivanov.

But when the news broke, Profumo lied to the House of Commons about his affair. He was soon found out and Keeler sold her story to the News of The World for £23,000.

In June 1963, he quit in disgrace, amid allegations Keeler had been asked by Ivanov to discover from the War Minister when the West Germans might receive U.S. nuclear missiles to be stationed on their soil.

Profumo had been a rising star of the Tory Party, close to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a favoured visitor at Buckingham Palace, a war hero and the dashing husband of actress Valerie Hobson, one of the great beauties of her day.

Ms Keeler, whose other lovers have included A-Team actor George Peppard, legendary womaniser Warren Beatty and Prisoner of Zenda star Douglas Fairbanks Jr, said in an interview years later that the Establishment was far more interested in painting it as a sex scandal and chose to ignore whispered claims of a widespread spying network. 

Christine died aged 75 in December 2017.

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