Christine Keeler, the good-time girl from an abusive childhood, whose teenage fling with John Profumo, the Defence Minister, brought down Harold MacMillan’s government in 1963, has had a sympathetic hearing from a new BBC drama. She was written off as a prostitute, having also had a liaison with a Soviet attache and intelligence officer, a smear from which she never recovered. Stephen Ward, the society osteopath who was the fixer for her entree into moneyed aristo circles committed suicide midway through his trial for immorality offences, having been abandoned by his erstwhile friends in high places. Plus ca change.
Profumo resigned having lied to the House of Commons and supposedly led a saintly life thereafter, living off his inherited wealth, doing charitable work in London’s East End. Though indications are he continued womanising. He remained a guest of Winston Churchill’s son Randolph and the Queen Mother, returning to ‘respectability’ with a CBE twelve years later from the Queen for his charity work. His wife, former actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him with cool elegance – though in reality she appears to have been aware of his wandering ways, having a few of her own.
What a dramatis personae – and what a gap between the received wisdom about the personalities which left the ‘downstairs’ lot carrying the heaviest burden, as ever.
Christine Keeler, 22 February 1942 11.15 am London (from memory), was a Sun Pisces, with an emotionally intense Venus in Aquarius opposition Pluto; and a heavyweight Saturn Mars Moon and Uranus in Taurus trine Neptune. She had been sexually abused and malnourished as a child, had a baby at 17 which died, and became a waitress, then a topless showgirl, aiming to be a model. That collection in Taurus would certainly indicate cruelty in childhood. When she had her fling with Profumo in 1961 her Solar Arc Saturn Mars were square her North Node in Virgo, thrusting her firmly into the centre of the zeitgeist and was conjunct her Jupiter which may indicate the blight that it brought to the rest of her life.
John Profumo, 30 June 2015. was a maverick Sun, Mars, Uranus in Aquarius; with Venus in adventurous Sagittarius opposition Saturn in Gemini and Pluto in Cancer – Venus Saturn can be a sex addict; Venus Pluto tends to be compulsive emotionally and sexually; and Saturn Pluto adds a darker twist.
Christine’s Venus in Aquarius was conjunct his Sun Mars which would draw him to her initially – though it was only a brief fling. And their relationship chart had an intense composite Venus opposition Pluto.
His wife, Valerie Hobson, 14 April 1917, was a Sun Venus (Mars) in Aries square Saturn, herself from a poor, difficult childhood who had married money, divorced and married the also-rich Profumo. She was no slouch when it came to living it up with a Venus Mars conjunction in Aries square Saturn.
Her Aries planets were trine his Venus in Sagittarius which would provide a small spark but it was hardly a close match, with their relationship chart having a chained-together-and-resenting it Saturn Pluto, a needs-space Venus Uranus; and an aggravated Mars trine Saturn Pluto.
Stephen Ward, 19 October 1912, was undoubtedly a less than savoury character, but no more so than those he supplied with girls. He had the highly-strung Uranus opposition Neptune of his generation squaring onto a late Libra Sun conjunct Mars in Scorpio – ego-centric, ultra-determined, vengeful – with Venus also in sexy Scorpio.
The final cast member in this novelesque tragi-comedy of a political peccadillo was Mandy Rice Davies, 21 October 1944, a friend of Keeler. Her famous riposte at Ward’s trial when faced with Lord Astor’s denial of having slept with her – ‘well he would, wouldn’t he’ – has become an iconic phrase. She was a more robust character who went onto have a celebrity existence and three moneyed marriages. Like Ward she had a late Libra Sun and Venus in Scorpio; as well as a do-or-die-determined Mars in Scorpio square Pluto.
It’s a huge irritation to me that it takes for ever – nearly sixty years in this case – for a more balanced picture to emerge.