Christine Keeler’s Unseen Diary and Prison Letters Up for Auction

Christine Keeler, the central figure in the 1960s Profumo scandal that nearly toppled the British government, is back in the spotlight as her unseen diary and letters from her time in prison are set to be auctioned. The items include her 1962 appointment diary, dating to just before her affair with Secretary of State for War Jack Profumo was revealed.

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Hugo van Gelderen / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Keeler, who passed away in 2017, became a household name at 21 when her involvement in the scandal became public. Befriended by Stephen Ward, a well-connected osteopath, Keeler was unknowingly used in a ‘honeytrap’ operation targeting Soviet naval attaché Yevgeny Ivanov. However, she soon met Jack Profumo at Cliveden House and began a relationship with him. In December 1962, the press exposed the affair, leading to a media frenzy and a national security issue.

By the end of 1963, Keeler was accused of perjury, pleaded guilty, and spent six months in prison. Her 1962 Harrods diary, recording numerous appointments, notes, and sketches, is among the items up for auction. These personal artifacts, kept by Keeler until her death, are offered by her family with an estimate of £8,000-12,000 in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts online auction from June 26 to July 11.

The diary details her daily and hourly engagements, including lunches, parties, modeling interviews, and personal notes. Stephen Ward’s name appears frequently, and she also notes the phone number of Mandy Rice-Davies, another key figure in the scandal.

Keeler’s British passport, issued in 1961, documents her travels, including trips to France, the US, and Spain, marking significant events in her life and trial. This passport, rediscovered in a solicitor’s box, offers insights into her movements during the scandal.

Additionally, the auction features Keeler’s copies of iconic photographs taken by Lewis Morley in May 1963, estimated at £15,000-20,000. These images are considered defining visuals of the 1960s.

Seymour Platt, Keeler’s son, shared his hopes for the auction: “My hope is that the sale will raise awareness for the campaign to overturn my mother’s 1963 criminal conviction and, maybe, help people understand that Chris was at the same time a wonderful, vivacious character, but also sadly a victim of history.”

Dr. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Specialist, remarked on the significance of the auction: “The Profumo affair has lost little of its fascination in 60 years… The diary and the other artifacts give a unique and poignant glimpse at the daily life of a very young woman whose tangled love affairs inadvertently almost destroyed a government, and who was herself deeply damaged by the scandal.”

These items provide an intimate look into Keeler’s life and the scandal that left an indelible mark on British history.

Written by Influencer Editorial Team

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