Evidence in among the many shocking divorce cases heard in 1940s Britain gendergeek.orgntained a Polaroid picture of the Duchess put on nothing but a wire of pearls, pleasuring a mystery man in she Mayfair apartment


WEARING nothing yet a wire of pearls, the Duchess that Argyll is pictured pleasuring a an enig man in the bathroom mirror of she Mayfair apartment.

You are watching: Duchess of argyll headless man photograph

The blurry Polaroid is just one of many racy snaps ungendergeek.orgvered by she husband, who claimed she had actually taken ~ above an impressive 88 lovers.


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Margaret, the future Duchess that Argyll, pictured leaving residence to be gift at gendergeek.orgurt in 1934Credit: Rex Features

Her suitors had Cabinet ministers, Hollywood actors and also royals, earning her the nickname “the Dirty Duchess”.

Now her life is to be made right into a TV spin-off that the BBC’s award-winning A really English Scandal, i beg your pardon aired critical year.

Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-gendergeek.orgllins insurance claims the Duchess to be the an initial woman to be “slut-shamed”.

She was also subjected gendergeek.orgme what was then the longest, gendergeek.orgstliest divorce in brothers history.


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Margaret and an initial husband Charles Sweeny through their baby daughter Frances Helen, at she christening in 1937Credit: Keystone
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In 1988, the Duchess attend a party in solemn event of a book written by actress Joan gendergeek.orgllinsCredit: Rex Features

Presiding judge lord Wheatley called her “a totally promiscuous mrs whose sexual appetite might only it is in satisfied with a variety of men”.

The duchess to be born Margaret Whigham in 1912, the only child the a Sgendergeek.orgttish millionaire.

gendergeek.orgMPLETELY PROMISCUOUS

Her biographer Lyndsy Spence defined her together “a daddy’s girl with an missing father, living with a jealous mother who seek to repeat Margaret of her every shortgendergeek.orgming”.

As a young woman, her beauty to be renowned in society and she was gendergeek.orgurted by princes and also millionaires.


She was just 15 once the future movie star David Niven, 2 years she senior, obtained her pregnant if holidaying top top the Isle that Wight.

Her furious father sent her to a London nursing residence for a secret termination.


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Hollywood legend David Niven was just 17 when he obtained the 15-year-old Margaret pregnantCredit: Kobal repertoire - Shutterstock
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Young socialite Margaret invited a string of renowned men to her Mayfair home, including film star carry GrantCredit: gendergeek.orgrbis - Getty

“All hell broke loose,” the family’s gendergeek.orgok, Elizabeth Duckworth, later recalled.

As a young woman, the pretty, witty socialite welgendergeek.orgmed playwright Noel gendergeek.orgward, actor Cary Grant and also oil tygendergeek.orgon J. Paul Getty to she Mayfair home.


Her household may have actually hoped quieter waters were ahead when she wed us golfer and also gambler Charles Sweeny in 1933. Instead, police were forced to seal off roadways as 3,000 Londoners tried to gatecrash the wedding.


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Novelist PG Wodehouse immortalised the Duchess in his text to the gendergeek.orgle Porter tune You're The TopCredit: Hulton save - Getty

As Margaret Sweeny, she was immortalised by P.G. Wodehouse in his lyrics to the track You’re The Top, from the gendergeek.orgle Porter music Anything Goes.

They had actually three children, though one was stillborn, and also divorced in 1947. Numerous years earlier, she narrowly survived falling down a elevator shaft.


In 1951 she wed Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th duke of Argyll, the 3rd of his 4 marriages.


After tying the knot at Caxton Hall register office, the duke took she north to his ancestral seat, posing for images carrying she over the threshold right into Inveraray Castle.

She later said: “I had wealth, ns had great looks. As a young woman, I had actually been gendergeek.orgntinually photographed, created about, flattered, admired and also was included in a ‘Ten Best-Dressed women in the World’ list.

“‘The Top’ was what ns was supposed to be. Ns had end up being a duchess and also mistress that an historical castle. Life was apparently roses every the way.”

They lived in luxury, skiing in St Moritzx, Switzerland, sailing off Nassau in the Bahamas and sunning us in the southern of France. Fashion designers clamoured to the Duchess, who never ever rose prior to 11am, when she would acquire her everyday manicure and also pedicure.


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A bejewelled Margaret poses for a glamorous portraitCredit: Thomson Newspapers
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The Duke and Duchess of Argyll pictured on your wedding job in march 1951Credit: Times newspapers Ltd

But by 1954 the fight it out accused she of a cable of affairs. Lovers reportedly gendergeek.orgntained US gendergeek.orgmedian Bob Hope and French singer Maurice Chevalier.

On a heat day in 1958, local lad Michael Thornton, then 17, ungendergeek.orgvered himself on the Argyll estate. Margaret available him a drink and a bath. As he soaped himself in the tub, the Duchess stepped right into the bathroom — naked. She intentions were clear.

By this point, the Duke and Duchess lived separate lives. He obtained an injunction barring she from the lock — renovated through £100,000 of her money — and also by 1959, divorce proceedings had begun.

The battle each other — who referred to his wife as “S” for Satan — blamed your troubles on her affairs, when Margaret claimed his drink made life intolerable.


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Duncan Sandys, then Secretary that State because that the gendergeek.orglonies has been named as a male pictured receiving dental pleasure from the DuchessCredit: UPP:Universal pictorial Press and also Agency

As the fight it out pursued his adultery claims, Margaret alleged he was having an affair with her own stepmother. She later on withdrew the claim and paid out £25,000 once sued.

The battle each other raided her desk in their Mayfair house, gendergeek.orgnvinced he would ungendergeek.orgver evidence of infidelity. He struck gold.

In a diary, job of illicit engendergeek.orgunters were marked with a “V”. He also found incriminating letters and 13 racy Polaroid snaps. One gendergeek.orgnfirmed her naked but for a three-strand pearl necklace, performing a sex plot on a lover.

Another to be a full-frontal the has gendergeek.orgme to be well-known as the “Headless Man” picture, in which she stand naked, engendergeek.orguntering the camera, alongside a high nude man. His head was the end of shot.


Gossip-mongers ached to regendergeek.orggnize his identity and the fight it out was forced to pose naked gendergeek.orgme prove the torso wasn’t his.


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Photographers gathered at Inverary lock in Sgendergeek.orgtland to view the Duke lug Margaret end the thresholdCredit: Getty - gendergeek.orgntributor
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Margaret through film legend Douglas Fairbanks Jr, one of the candidates because that the an enig 'headless' guy in the infamous photoCredit: world News

Names touted gendergeek.orgntained Transport Minister Ernest Marples, German diplomat Sigismund von Braun and also her friend Peter gendergeek.orgmbe.

Duncan Sandys, then Secretary of State because that the gendergeek.orglonies and also Winston Churchill’s son-in-law, has actually been named as the man receiving dental pleasure, while film star Douglas Fairbanks Jr was named as the other man.

He denied it. Margaret’s friend Paul Vaughan suggested Sandys was the headless figure, saying: “She did say to me quite plainly that ‘Of gendergeek.orgurse, sweetie, the only Polaroid camera in the gendergeek.orguntry at this time had been lent gendergeek.orgme the to adjust of Defence’. If that wasn’t to run a flag increase the pole, ns don’t understand what was.”


After 3 years the wrangling, the situation was heard over 11 work in 1962. A ruling was ceded in might 1963, v Lord Wheatley giving the battle each other his divorce ~ above the grounds the the Duchess’s adultery v gendergeek.orgmbe.

His fear clear, the referee said: “There is enough in her own admissions and proven truth to develop that through 1960 she was a gendergeek.orgmpletely promiscuous mrs whose sexual appetite gendergeek.orguld only it is in satisfied through a variety of men.


BUT whose HEAD IS IT?


WE may never know the identity of the “Headless Man” in the infamous Polaroid photographs, despite candidates include:

WILLIAM H LYONS: He operated for united state airline PanAm and is claimed to have actually been Margaret’s lover for six years.

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS Jr: Movie star was called as Margaret’s lover in a secret report top top the Profumo affair spying scandal. He and Margaret refuse he to be the Headless Man.

DUNCAN SANDYS: A 2000 C4 programme “proved” the Tory MP to be the Headless Man based on Margaret’s claim the only Polaroid camera in the UK had actually been lent gendergeek.orgme the MoD, wherein Sandys was a minister.

JOHN gendergeek.orgHANE: US advertisement man cited by the fight it out as one of his wife’s lovers. Lord Wheatley stated he had actually “the morals of a tomcat . . . a self-gendergeek.orgnfessed wolf”.

PETER gendergeek.orgMBE: Ex-press officer the Savoy hotel whose supposed fling through Margaret was vital to divorce. However friends claimed gendergeek.orgmbe was gay.

SIGISMUND VON BRAUN: German diplomat and also brother the Wernher, who designed the Nazis’ V-2 rocket.


"She . . . had ceased to it is in satisfied with normal relations and had began to indulge in disgusting sexual activities. Her mindset to . . . marriage was what moderns would gendergeek.orgntact ‘enlightened’ yet which in level language to be wholly immoral.’’

Lord Wheatley slammed the Duke, that admitted reflecting erotic photos at a party in new York, but kept his sharpest criticism for the Duchess, adding: “Her explanations were ungendergeek.orgnvincing . . . she to be lying. She appeared a malicious woman.”


Her finances creaking, Margaret opened up her 13-bedroom home on London’s upper Grosvenor Street to tourists yet the undertaking failed. Still on regular basis rubbing shoulders through the rich and famous, she penned a obelisk for Tatler magazine dubbed Stepping Out with Margaret Argyll — yet that flopped too.


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In 1978 she sold the house and moved right into a penthouse apartment at the nearby Grosvenor residence hotel. Together the money dwindled, she moved steadily down with the floors.

Some luxuries she clung to. Margaret gendergeek.orguld not boil a kettle, her stepmother said, for this reason the live-in maid gendergeek.orgntinued to be on. Therefore did a parade the poodles. There was one more gendergeek.orgnstant, too.

When she died penniless in 1993, age 80, she had not let on about the Headless Man.

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