A Very British Scandal Season 1: The chore of recalling just a few of the most dramatic society divorces in recent memory would be rather simple.
The list goes on and on: The extremely annoying, very good-for-the-art-world Macklowe split—which will eventually be resolved in May when the rest of their Warhols and Rothkos are sold at Sotheby’s after six painful years.
That may come to mind. Or the enthralling story of Jordanian Princess Haya bint Hussein’s bid to flee her abusive husband.
Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Not to mention the multibillion-dollar tech uncouplings involving the world’s two wealthiest men, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
- Divorce was a rare event in the 1960s, as revolutionary as the decade would turn out to be.
- Even scarce among the British nobility. This is why, even by 2022 standards, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll’s marriage are still one of the most heinous breakups in history.
- One in which she was subjected to revenge, had her adulterous liaisons exposed, and had her sex life examined by a hostile media.
And now, for the first time, the story is being retold for television.
Claire Foy and Paul Bettany Feature as the Unfortunate Lovers in a Very British Scandal
- Is a three-part limited series that launched in the United Kingdom (on BBC) in December and will be available on Amazon Prime on our side of the Atlantic starting Friday.
- Here’s what we know about Margaret Campbell, the powerful woman at the center of it all—and the controversy that would hound her for the rest of her life—in preparation for the weekend binge.
She Rose to Prominence in Society and Had Several High-profile Relationships
In the 1930s, she rose to prominence in society and had several high-profile relationships.
- Margaret Whigham was born in 1912, the only child of Scottish businessman George Whigham and his wife Helen.
- In 1930, she was dubbed “Debutante of the Year” at Court, even though she had previously had some fun with society’s most eligible men, including Prince Aly Khan.
- Max Aitken, the future actor David Niven, is the son of publishing magnate Lord Beaverbrook.
Margaret became one of the most glamorous socialites of her era thanks to her deft use of the tabloids, both socially and monetarily (pre-divorce, at least).
She Was Married Twice and Was Engaged Four Times
Margaret was engaged to Charles Guy Fulke Greville, 7th Earl of Warwick, after her coming out, but they broke up after she fell in love with Charles Sweeny.
- An affluent American family’s descendant. They married in London’s Brompton Oratory in February 1933.
- The occasion, as well as the bride’s bridal gown, was fashioned by royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell (who also designed Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown).
- drew such a large throng that Knightsbridge traffic was backed up for hours.
Sweeny’s Were Married for 14 Years and Had Three Children
Before separating in 1947, the Sweenys were married for 14 years and had three children (including a stillborn daughter).
- Margaret was betrothed to a Lehman Brothers banker before meeting Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll, on a train from Paris.
- After meeting someone else, he broke up with her, which might have sounded a little karmic.
- Margaret had become a duchess by 1951, so it didn’t matter.
What Was the Name of the Duke of Argyll?
Clan Campbell, traditionally one of Scotland’s largest and most powerful clans, was led by Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll.
- From Inveraray Castle, the family residence since the 18th century, he governed over the duchy.
- (You may also recognize it from the 2012 Christmas episode of Downton Abbey, where it served as a stand-in for the fictional Duneagle.)
He Was 48 (She Was 39) When He Married Margaret in 1951
Had been divorced twice, and had three children
- Even though the Duchess of Argyll’s infidelity and sex life would subsequently be brought to national attention.
- Her husband was far from blameless. He has a reputation for being physically and emotionally abusive.
- Not to mention drug, alcohol, and gambling addicts. He also had a bad habit of using his wives’ money to keep Inveraray afloat.
Utilized Fake Letters to Persuade the Duke That His Children
Margaret, on the other hand, utilized fake letters to persuade the Duke that his children from his second marriage were illegitimate.
- She even tried to stage a pregnancy by enlisting the help of a friend to locate a baby boy from Poland.
- A friend declined to take part. In addition, her former social secretary, Yvonne MacPherson, sued her for libel and defamation in 1960.
Now as for the Divorce
While his wife was gone in New York, the duke began to suspect cheating, so he broke into her drawer and discovered sexual polaroids.
- One of them showed her dressed entirely in pearls and having oral sex with an unnamed male.
- He used them as evidence in his divorce case. This is revenge porn in 2022, and it is a criminal violation.
- Margaret was branded the “Dirty Duchess” by the media in 1963, and the judge gave her a severe censure.
- Who was it who said “Her attitude toward the sacredness of marriage was “enlightened,” but in plain terms, it was completely immoral?
He also described her as “a sexually promiscuous woman who could only be pleased by a large number of guys.”
Duke Had Also Given a List of 88 Males
The duke had also given a list of 88 males, including government ministers and members of the royal family, in addition to the images.
- During their 12-year marriage, the duchess was said to have been unfaithful.
- Naturally, the press was enthralled by all of these juicy facts, and conjecture about the man in the polaroid was rife.
- The authorities even enlisted the help of Lord Denning, a judge, to figure out who he was.
- Duncan Sandys, Winston Churchill’s former son-in-law, and actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Though these assertions were never substantiated, they emerged as the most likely choices.
What Is the Plot of a Very British Scandal?
A Very British Scandal, Amazon Prime’s new series about a Scottish aristocrat and the sensational divorce that rocked 1960s high society, is based on true events.
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