The son of Christine Keeler has revealed he’s planning a legal battle to get her name pardoned, three years after her death at the age of 75, and 60 years after the biggest UK political scandal of the 20th century thrust her into the world’s spotlight.
Seymour Platt, Keeler’s son by her brief marriage to businessman Anthony Platt in the early Seventies, told an Australian podcast, who was at the very centre of the 1961 Profumo Affair scandal that rocked British politics, that he thought his mother would have been unlikely to have been jailed for the same offences now.
In the interview on journalist Catherine Mahoney’s So I Quit My Day Job podcast, Platt, 49, who’s lived in Ireland for the last 15 years, also spoke about his mother’s alleged affairs following her release from prison, with huge stars of the time including Beatle Ringo Starr, Warren Beatty and George Peppard and discusses the unsettling behaviour of Harvey Weinstein on the set of the 1989 film Scandal.
In December 1963, Keeler was found guilty at the Old Bailey of perjury and imprisoned for nine months for her crimes.
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Christine Keeler’s son Seymour Platt, one of the late showgirl’s three children, told podcaster Catherine Mahoney that he plans to launch a legal ‘petition of mercy’ claim to pardon her name for the perjury conviction she received in December 1963 following the Profumo Affair
Keeler with her friend Mandy Rice-Davies; the pair became embroiled in one of the biggest political scandals British politics has ever seen in 1961 when they partied with London osteopath Stephen Ward and his high society friends – including John Profumo
In 1963, Profumo, who had designs on becoming PM, resigned his Cabinet post after admitting lying to the House of Commons about the nature of his relationship with Keeler (British War State Secretary John Profumo and his wife Valerie Hobson in 1961)
Seymour and his mother on his wedding day in 2002; Keeler’s life was changed forever following her 1961 affair with War Secretary John Profumo when she was just 19
Seymour says his mother asked him to ‘do what he can to make sure that the truth is told’ before her death in 2017 at the age of 785
When the former showgirl died in 2017 aged 75, she pleaded with Seymour, the middle child of her three offspring, to ‘do what he can to make sure that the truth is told’.
Now, Platt says his legal team are preparing to launch a ‘petition of mercy’ claim to help clear Keeler’s name.
He told Mahoney: ‘I think I’ve got something now that is strong enough that we’re buillding a pardon for Christine – a petition of mercy.
‘We’ve got a number of points as to why we believe she should never have gone to prison. And today, she wouldn’t have been found guilty.’
While Keeler’s son warned the process would be long and complicated, he said he was confident the family had a strong case.
Seymour said that the years that followed her imprisonment saw her party – and play – with some of the world’s biggest stars including a Beatle.
Platt also revealed some of the men his mother became involved with after she was afforded instant fame by the scandal, including Ringo Starr, Warren Beatty and George Peppard
He explains: ‘She actually left prison and morphed into a lot of money because she’d sold all of her stories in newspapers for unbelievable amounts, so she was very, very wealthy.
‘She went to the right parties and she met all the right people and she had affairs with everybody you can imagine from the time… from Warren Beatty to George Peppard and Ringo Starr. Nobody knows she had a short affair with Ringo Starr.’
She left prison and sold all of her stories in newspapers for unbelievable amounts, so she was very, very wealthy…
Platt on the years following his mother’s release from prison in 1964
Keeler’s affair with John Profumo in 1961 sparked one of the biggest scandals in 20th century political history.
Not only was Profumo married and 27 years older than Keeler, then 19, but she was also enjoying a dalliance with Yev-geny Ivanov, a Russian naval attaché, at the same time.
When this came to light in 1963, MI5 feared Profumo might have inadvertently passed on military secrets to the Russians via Christine. Profumo initially denied the affair in a statement to the House of Commons, and when he finally admitted it he was forced to resign.
TIMELINE OF A SCANDAL: HOW THE PROFUMO AFFAIR ROCKED BRITISH POLITICS
The Profumo affair had it all – sex, lies and espionage. It broke at the height of the Cold War, when spying was rife and the threat of war was imminent with the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here’s how it unfolded:
April 1960: At the height of the Cold War, Christine Keeler, having left her home in Wraysbury, Berks, heads for London and begins working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho. It is there that she meets Dr Stephen Ward, a London osteopath. Within weeks she had moved into his Bayswater flat. She soon meets Mandy Rice-Davies at Murray’s and the pair become party companions.
Christine Keeler in Cannes, France in May 1963; her affair with Profumo lasted just a few weeks but transformed her whole life
July 1961: Ward introduces 19-year-old Keeler to Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, while at a party thrown by Lord and Lady Astor at their stately home in Cliveden at Taplow, Bucks. Keeler and Profumo embark on an affair lasting only a few weeks. At the same time, she becomes involved in an affair with Commander Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché at the Russian Embassy in London.
March 1963: After months of speculation among MPs, Profumo is forced to face the Commons, where he says: “There was no impropriety whatever in my acquaintance with Miss Keeler and I have made the statement because of what was said yesterday in the House by three honourable members whose remarks were protected by privilege.”
June 1963: Ward is arrested in Watford and taken to Marylebone Police Station where he is charged with living off immoral earnings. His trial soon begins at the Old Bailey.
June 5, 1963: Profumo resigns his Cabinet post after admitting lying to the House of Commons about the nature of his relationship with Keeler.
A career in tatters: Profumo was forced to admit he lied about his affair with the then 19-year-old showgirl 27 years his junior
August 1963: On the last day of his trial, Ward is found dead at his London home having taken an overdose of sleeping pills.
December 1963: Keeler is found guilty of perjury in a related trial and imprisoned for nine months.
Attention then turned to the activities of Christine, her showgirl friend Mandy Rice-Davies, and their mentor Stephen Ward, the society osteopath through whom Christine met both Profumo and Ivanov. Ward was arrested and charged with living off immoral earnings with his trial heard at the Old Bailey in 1963.
The same year, Profumo resigned his Cabinet post after admitting lying to the House of Commons about the nature of his relationship with Keeler; months later, on the last day of his trial, Ward was found dead at his London home having taken an overdose of sleeping pills.
A jucidial enquiry written by Lord Denning on the case was due to be opened in the Nineties but then British Prime Minister John Major vetoed its release. It will now be made public in 2048.
The Profumo affair was made into a film called Scandal, starring John Hurt, Ian McKellen and Joanne Whalley Kilmer (as Christine) in 1989 – Seymour says the actors accused producers at the time of trying to make the set into something like a ‘porn film’
At the time of the film Scandal’s release, Keeler found herself thrust back into the spotlight, saying: ‘Even a criminal has the right to a new life, but they made sure I did not have that. They never stopped calling me a prostitute. How can anyone live with that?’
A jucidial enquiry written by Lord Denning was due to be opened in the 90s but then British Prime Minister John Major. It will now be made public in 2048.
Platt also revealed how he had some insight into the behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, who’s currently serving 23 years for sexual assault and rape, while visiting the set of the 1989 film about the Profumo Affair, Scandal.
Platt says that after meeting Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, who played Keeler in the film, the family were told: ‘They keep trying to get all the girls to take their clothes off, and they’re really seedy.
‘And they’re trying to turn us into some sort of porn film, and they’re really disgusting.’
Platt says he didn’t think anything of it at the time but wasn’t surprised that Weinstein’s name had been mentioned in such a way.
‘So that’s my Weinstein story. You know, he was involved in the film. Miramax distributed it in America. So they had dibs on it.’
At the time of the film’s release, Keeler found herself thrust back into the spotlight, saying: ‘Even a criminal has the right to a new life, but they made sure I did not have that.
‘They never stopped calling me a prostitute. How can anyone live with that?’
To listen to the two So I Quit My Dayjob podcasts featuring Seymour Platt talking to Catherine Mahoney, click here