2020 is fast coming to a close. This year has meant turmoil for everyone, a lot of people have been financially and emotionally impacted by this pandemic, others have been luckier and just inconvenienced by this new normal. My family and I are looking forward to Christmas together and are hoping that nothing stops that from happening, that we all remain well and hoping that next year is better for everyone.
This time last year the BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler was about to air and our campaign to recognise that Chris should never had gone to prison was about to start. My life changed as I understood what Chris had asked me to do in her will: “To make sure that the truth is told about events of which I took part during my lifetime”.
Christine Keeler was not a prostitute and Christine Keeler was not a liar. Christine Keeler, and she would have hated me saying it, was a victim.
There are of course people who will say, “...but she was a liar, she lied on oath when she said two men did not witness a crime” but when those two men made it clear to Christine they wanted nothing to do with the police, when those two men washed their hands of any responsibility to help convict a man who had assaulted her, Christine had a terrible choice - either don’t mention the witnesses to the police or just don’t report the assault, those were her choices.
“Or just don’t report the assault” - and face yet another assault by Lucky Gordon, and next time it could be worse, what a terrible choice.
There is a story I was told recently by someone who interviewed one of the police officers who was there in 1963. When Christine was questioned in connection with Stephen Ward the ex-police officer said, “We knew Christine was a prostitute because at the end of the interview she took the uneaten sandwiches with her. That is something prostitutes do and that is how we knew”
If only she had left those sandwiches. Would our history be different today?
For some of us the world has changed a lot since 1963. Chris told me how they would eat a lot of vegetarian spaghetti bolognese, which was basically spaghetti and tinned tomatoes, and there were of course a lot of sandwiches. She saw an avocado in the early sixties and at the time she thought they looked like a very bad idea!
After the exhibition I went out with friends, including one of Christine’s old friends, Desmond Banks, and we had a few drinks, laughed together and had a glass of scotch, Christine’s favourite tipple. Thanks to the pandemic that would have been one of the last times I was out with friends.
This website was published and lots of you sent kind messages and still do. A lawyer, James Harbridge, made contact and offered to help with Christine’s pardon, pro bono, and with lots of hard work he took a campaign page on a website and turned it into a legal document and so much more.
Felicity Gerry QC has taken on the fight pro bono and by the end of 2020 I feel we have a chance of correcting a part of history, telling that ‘truth’ that Christine talked about in her will.
2020 has had its downs, but it’s had some ups.
Merry Christmas everybody, may you love and may you be loved too.
It’s been an interesting week. More of you have come forward asking to help, which has been brilliant. Any help is much appreciated; even just telling friends about this really helps. It has also been a little frustrating at times, with one journalist telling me that the story I’m trying to tell is too complicated for their readers.
I was laughing the other day when reading through Christine’s original manuscript It was a comment about how tough her stepfather Ted was, when she was a child. She tells a story about falling out of a moving car and another one about pets being drowned, but the line that made me laugh was something she said Ted used to say to her: Ted used to tell me, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other, and see which one gets filled up first”.
It is a dark enough expression to use, the glass is definitely half empty with this expression, only this wasn't quite what Ted would say, it was:
“Wish in one hand and SHIT in the other, and see which one gets filled up first”
That was just Christine being polite, being a little discreet. I remember Christine speaking on the phone with a different voice, her telephone voice. That was the generation she was from, it is not lying, it is just not wanting to be rude.
A student reached out a few weeks ago asking about Christine’s campaign and they mentioned how after reading Christine’s Wikipedia page they where given no idea about Lucky Gordon and his history with Christine. It is true that her Wikipedia page glazes over some important aspects of her story and in some places is just plain wrong.
It is frustrating because I have made one or two changes on Wikipedia only to see them taken out again!
Here are some examples:
Wikipedia Says: The exact length of the affair between Keeler and Profumo is disputed, ending either in August 1961, once Profumo was warned by the security services of the possible dangers of mixing with the Ward circle, or continuing with decreasing fervour until December 1961.
I wanted to add: Christine said that the relationship ended in December 1961 and, in his statement to the House, Profumo said he last saw Christine in December.
Wikipedia says: ... Yevgeny Ivanov. According to Keeler, she and Ivanov had a short sexual relationship.
I wanted to add/change:
After an evening drinking vodka, Christine and Ivanov had a one-time sexual relationship - Ivanov confirmed Christine’s account in his 1992 book ‘The Naked Spy”.
The Wikipedia line implies that Christine lied about this. You will notice this as a trend throughout her Wikipedia page.
Wikipedia says: After her relationship with Profumo ended, Keeler was sexually involved with several partners, including jazz
So this is what I wanted to change it to:
In October 1961 Christine met Lucky Gordon when buying cannabis for her and Stephen Ward. Christine alleges that Lucky Gordon, who had a record of violence against woman, started an 18 month campaign of intimidation and harassment and assaulted her on numerous occasions. In May 1962 Christine and Michael Lambton were briefly engaged. In Sept 1962 Christine met jazz promoter Johnny Edgecombe and they started a relationship. On 27 October 1962, while Christine and Johnny were out dancing, there was a dispute with Lucky Gordon that ended with Edgecombe slashing Gordon’s face with a knife.
Wikipedia says: On the 18th of April 1963, Keeler was attacked at the home of a friend. She accused Gordon, who was arrested and charged. At his trial, which began on the 5th of June, he maintained that his innocence would be established by two witnesses who, the police told the court, could not be found. On the 7th of June, mainly on the evidence of Keeler, Gordon was found guilty and sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
It’s just not true that Gordon said the two witnesses would establish his innocence, he just didn't say that. Gordon argued that although he had hit Christine, he wasn’t responsible for all of her injuries and that she had run into a door whilst trying to get away from him. The police doctor’s evidence was also key in Gordon’s conviction.
Wikipedia says: Ward's trial, which ran from the 22nd to the 31st of July 1963, has been characterised as "an act of political revenge" for the embarrassment caused to the government. He was accused of living off immoral earnings, earned through Keeler
Wikipedia says: Gordon's assault conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal when his missing witnesses were found and testified that the evidence given by Keeler was substantially false
What I wanted to change it to was: Gordon's assault conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal when his missing witnesses were found on the basis that Christine had lied about the two other men being present at the assault.
Wikipedia says: ... she was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment, serving four and a half months in prison.
This should say: serving six months.
The changes I wanted to make are supported with actual evidence. The entry is not complete, but I hope the changes tell the story more clearly and objectively. I also believe it removes some of the malice in the text. Lastly, it is Christine’s Wikipedia page, so it should tell her story. Maybe there are some people out there who just want to think that Christine lied about everything. Maybe some people who support Stephen Ward can’t hide a certain contempt for Christine and Mandy or maybe some people don't actually know the story as well as they think they do.
When I was young Christine would take the palm of my hand and tell me there was a big farm right there in my hand. She pointed to the field were they grew potatoes and where the cows were kept, and on my hand she would point at the farmhouse and a greenhouse for the tomatoes. Finally she would ask me, “What do you think is here, in the middle of the farm?” and she would point at the middle of my hand. “It’s a duck pond,” she said as a big drop of spit landed in the middle of the farm. It was gross but it was funny and sometimes that’s what families are.
But I am sure there are some people who will now say that Christine had a nasty habit of spitting at people.
Today is Christine’s anniversary, she died three years ago on the 4th December 2017. I thought I should post the foreword I wrote for the re-issue of her book - Secrets and Lies. I am sure some of you may have already seen it, but it was the first time I had written anything about Chris and some of it was taken from her eulogy so it seems apt.
I never met Christine Keeler.
For me my mother was always Christine Sloane. She changed her name to get away from being Christine Keeler. In our house Christine Keeler was talked about in the third person ‘who would want to be associated with Christine Keeler?’. Christine Keeler would get the blame for lots of things that happened. Friends, family, relationships that had soured, that would be Christine Keeler’s fault.
I wanted to give a flavour of the person I knew, the human being and not the ‘Sixties icon, not the sex symbol and not the victim.
I was born ten years after the Profumo affair, and those events were always a part of our lives. Stories about some fabled ‘man in the mask’ who was at upmarket orgies, or the rumours of doctors and nurses with President Kennedy, or who was spying for the Russians. My mother always did hold her cards very close to her chest even from me. ‘If you want to keep a secret,’ she would say, ‘tell no one’.
My mother paid a high price for Christine Keeler, she went from riches to poverty, from all the adoration of men to loneliness. She called herself a scapegoat and when we bickered, I would call her a martyr on a cross.
Christine was a fantastic driver: she loved driving and loved driving fast. ‘Start accelerating as you’re coming out of a corner, get your speed up for when you straighten up,’ she used to tell me. That was a big surprise for the instructor on my first driving lesson.
She told me when she was much younger, she nearly raced at Le Mans, and after she was released from prison, she would speed round London in her Mini Cooper until the police gave chase. ‘They couldn’t catch me. They had to put road blocks up to stop me and when they did I would say:
‘I’m Christine Keeler and they would have to let me go because it would look like I was being victimised by the police after what Denning did to me.’
In the early 1990s she was living in Clapham and was asked for an interview on a TV show in Birmingham; I can’t remember the name of the show but it was on the BBC. She didn’t want to go but we were poor, and it was £250 cash. We both jumped in her battered old red Renault and flew up the M1. When we arrived, there was no cash. Suddenly, it was not the BBC’s policy to pay cash.
‘Christine you must understand it’s a live show, there is a presenter, a studio audience other guests: you need to stop being difficult and get on with it,’ one of the BBC production people told her. Chris wasn’t having any of it. No cash, no interview. It felt like a room full of hostile people all acting like she was being difficult or unreasonable. They turned to me: ‘Can you speak to your mother?’ She was told there would be cash for this interview, that cash would pay for the petrol back, for food, she was not being difficult, she was making the only choice left to her, she wasn’t rich and powerful with a world of choices.
The cash arrived just before the show went live, she puts on her make-up and did the show. On the way back to London the gear box on the Renault slipped on the motorway and she could only get the car into third. She had to drive from Birmingham to south London in third gear: ‘We can’t stop for anything, I won’t get it going again.’ She didn’t stop, she was a very good driver.
In the late 1980’s the film Scandal came out, and things got a little easier for a while. She had sold an option to make the film about five years before for a few thousand pounds, when we were very poor. They had six years to make the film or they would need to pay Chris more money to extend it and just before time was up production started. There was a lot of this through the years, people managing to not pay Chris in the nick of time, publishers going bust -- after everyone else was paid -- or ex-husbands not having to pay child support even when they lived in large houses and drove big, flashy cars.
I would have been about seventeen when Chris had been paid a few thousand pounds to go to the premier of Scandal and we both got to walk down the red carpet in Leicester Square. Bob Geldof and Paula Yates sat next to us in a cinema packed with 1980s celebrities. The Pet Shop boys and Dusty Springfield had a song [ ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’,1989] at number two in the charts in both the UK and US about my mother.
It all led to an American release for Scandal and in fact it did pretty well in America for someone, and it was one of the top UK movies there for a long time. We went all around America and she advertised the film. I remember we were in the Ritz Carlton on Central Park and watched the Hillsborough disaster on the news; 96 people died when they went to watch a football game and the Press where already blaming the fans. I clearly remember her saying ‘That’s crap, those bastards just let those people die, and now they are going to cover it up”. Decades later she was proved right. I think she understood how police, press and politicians worked.
Coming in to America through customs we were bickering, probably because I was a teenager. ‘Hold this’ she said and gave me a scrunched up tissue. She always had scrunched up tissues. I protested and we bickered more as she got our passports ready and we bickered past customs to a waiting car. ‘Give me my tissue back’ she asked and opened it and inside there was a small lump of cannabis. ‘I’m going to need this for my nerves,’ she said. She liked a smoke.
While in America we were contacted by a family living on a Native American reservation they were related on her father’s side and they were keen to make contact. Chris wasn’t very interested. I think she was a little embarrassed: it was a different time. We talked about it over the years, she seemed to think her father who had been put up for adoption and was originally Native American, I never did find out for sure.
Chris was a terrible cook. She would say: ‘I’m not a good cook, but I do have one or two dishes that I’m ok with.’ That was a lie for she was a terrible cook. One Christmas she put the small turkey in the oven, put the gas on low but forgot to light it. Half an hour later we could smell gas, she jumped up, opened doors and windows.
She had gassed the turkey, our Christmas dinner tasted of gas, and she had made some sort of gravy from its juices and poured this gas tasting juice over everything, and she started laughing. She was a terrible cook.
She used to laugh, really laugh, we played tricks on one another. I told her once you can get rid of dark under your eyes with just a dab of Deep Heat then rub it in. ‘You bastard’ she screamed her eyes streaming and both of us rolling around laughing. Don’t worry she would have got her own back with an equally devious prank.
Family and friends came and went, but I don’t think it was ever Christine Keeler’s fault, money would have been part of it, some friends and even family disappear when you lose all your money. We went on a trip to Brazil when I was five, she was doing interviews, so it was a working trip, whilst we were there everything seemed to change, all the money was suddenly gone, I even think we were stuck there for a while, but we came back to London things were hard for Chris, we stayed in friends’ flats, we even stayed in squats.
Chris had a great friend called Professor Dennis Evans, we stayed in his spare room for a while. Dennis used to keep exotic pets, scorpions, spiders and snakes, one morning he poked my head into our room and announced: ‘I’ve lost the scorpions, one is very nasty, so shake your shoes before you put them on’. We ended up in a council estate. Chris was in trouble with the tax man and there was no money. There are pictures of her around this time, and she is very thin, it wasn’t for fashion. When Professor Dennis Evans died of cancer many years later Chris didn’t go to his funeral, and afterwords she told me it was because she was so damn angry at him for dying.
I remember her mother, my grandmother, wasn’t a warm woman. When I was very young, six or seven we went to visit then where they lived in Berkshire. My brother Jimmy didn’t live with us but lived with her mother and stepfather and for me always had. They all lived in the house Chris brought her mother during better times. I was playing with the family dog, a collie, and her stepfather started pretending to set the dog on me: ‘Go on attack, go on boy.’
It was all clearly a joke. I was six and knew a joke when I saw it, but mother went mad. ‘Don’t threaten my boy, don’t joke around like that,’ she screamed and she shouted and really stood up to him. I didn’t know then all the pain he had caused her when she was a young girl. Then we saw less of them, then we didn’t see them at all.
Families sometimes break and sometimes mothers and fathers don’t have any love for their children, but I always knew my mother loved me, always.
The smoking took its toll and she died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on my birthday, December 4, 2017. I posted a statement on Facebook and we told the Press, and all that media craziness started again, TV and newspapers wanting quotes and stories.
The BBC news called to say that although we, her family, had told them they didn’t have enough sources for the story that Christine Keeler was dead. They weren’t going to run it, but they could run the story if I came to their studio and did a live interview that night. Then they would report it. I explained that my mother has just died and the last place I wanted to be was on telly.
This moment in time didn’t belong to us, it belonged to the press again.
I went to see her laid to rest in the hospital. I was with my wife and my oldest friend Mark, and she lay there still and peaceful in a hospital gown. My friend leaned in and whispered: She would be so annoyed us standing here and her without her make-up on.’
I half expected her to sit up and laugh.
Please remember- any support for our campaign is really appreciated