Who was the Duchess of Argyll, Margaret Campbell?

HER affairs with Cabinet ministers, Hollywood actors and royals earned her the nickname “the Dirty Duchess”.

The British socialite, best known for her scandalous divorce from the Duke of Argyll, lived a life of luxury and decadence.

Who was Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll?

The Duchess was born Margaret Whigham in 1912, the only child of a Scottish millionaire, and spent the first 14 years of her life in New York City.

Her beauty was much spoken of, and she had youthful romances with playboy Prince Aly Khan and millionaire aviator Glen Kidston.

She was just 15 when movie star David Niven, 18 at the time, got her pregnant while holidaying on the Isle of Wight.

"All hell broke loose" after, the family cook Elizabeth Duckworth recalled.

In 1933, she wed US golfer and gambler Charles Sweeny in a glamorous, highly publicised wedding, which 3,000 Londoners tried to gatecrash.

They had three children, though one was stillborn, and divorced in 1947.

Several years earlier, she narrowly survived falling down a lift shaft.

"I fell forty feet to the bottom of the lift shaft", she later recalled. "The only thing that saved me was the lift cable, which broke my fall."

Most read in Fabulous

DRESS TO IMPRESS

Shoppers go wild for £16 Asda dress & it's even got its own Insta account

WASHED UP

Woman shares horrifying reason her mum’s washing machine stopped working

SEXPERIENCE

I quit teaching to be sex instructor- I've slept with 250 men & fiance loves it

XMAS-RATED

I’m 82 & will spend Xmas having sex with toyboy- we'll lick cream off each other

When did the Duke and Duchess of Argyll get married?

On 22 March 1951, Margaret, 38 at the time, married Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll.

This was his third marriage – after wedding Janet Gladys Aitken and Louise Hollingsworth Morris Vanneck.

After tying the knot at Caxton Hall register office, the Duke took her north to his ancestral seat, where they settled in the historic Inveraray Castle in Scotland.

Why did the Duke and Duchess get divorced?

Within a few years, the marriage was falling apart.

The Duke — who referred to his wife as “S” for Satan — blamed their troubles on her affairs, while Margaret said his drinking made life intolerable.

In 1959, the highly-publicised divorce proceedings began.

To gather evidence of his wife's affairs, the Duke broke into a cupboard in her Mayfair home, where he found incriminating letters and 13 racy Polaroid photographs.

One showed her naked but for a three-strand pearl necklace, pleasuring a man.

Another came to be known as the “Headless Man” picture, in which she stood naked next to a tall nude man, whose head out out of the shot,

The Duke produced a list of 88 men that the Duchess supposedly had an affair with, including Hollywood actors, two government ministers and three royals.

A ruling was delivered in May 1963, granting the Duke a divorce on the grounds of the Duchess’s adultery.

Lord Wheatley, the judge, said: “There is enough in her own admissions and proven facts to establish that by 1960 she was a completely promiscuous woman whose sexual appetite could only be satisfied with a number of men.

The Duchess never revealed the identity of the "headless man".

How many children did Margaret have?

Margaret had three children from her first marriage.

Her first daughter was stillborn at eight months in late 1933.

Frances Helen, her second daughter, was born in 1937 and married Charles Manners, 10th Duke of Rutland.

In 1940 the Duchess also had a son, Brian Charles, who died in 2021.

Before these pregnancies, Margaret suffered eight miscarriages.

How did the Duchess of Argyll die?

After her divorce from the Duke of Argyll, Margaret had a few unsuccessful ventures, including a memoir, Forget Not.

With her finances diminishing, she opened her Mayfair house at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street for paid tours.

In 1978, her debts forced Margaret to move with her maid to a suite at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Unable to pay the hotel bills, she was forced to move to an apartment and was later placed her in a nursing home in Pimlico.

Margaret died in 1993 after a bad fall in the nursing home.

She was buried alongside her first husband, Charles Sweeny, in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, Surrey.

Who plays the Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal?

Claire Foy, 37, best known for her role as young Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, portrays Margaret Campell in the three-part drama series A Very British Scandal.

Claire stars alongside Wanda Vision's Paul Bettany as Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll.

Similar to A Very English Scandal, A Very British Scandal focuses on the notorious divorce of the Duke and the Duchess of Argyll.

The drama series explores the social attitude towards women at the time, pointing at how Margaret was vilified, publicly shamed, and even becoming a victim of revenge porn.

    Source: Read Full Article