What happened to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll?

What happened AFTER A Very British Scandal? How the shamed Duchess of Argyll lived in a hotel and died penniless in a nursing home after bad investmentswhile the Duke married his fourth wife weeks after his divorce

  • A Very British Scandal culminated last night with the end of the divorce case
  • Claire Foy and Paul Bettany dazzled as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll
  • Weeks after the divorce, the Duke married his fourth wife, an American divorcee
  • The Duchess was defined by the ‘Headless Manphoto and her divorce
  • She died penniless in a London nursing home after bad investments
  • Three-part BBC series A Very British Scandal ended last night with the conclusion of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll’s explosive four-year divorce battle, which would define the shamed duchess for the rest of her life.

    The 50,000-word judgement, in which the Duke (played by Paul Bettany) was granted a decree, was one of the longest in the history of the Edinburgh court and took more than three hours to deliver.

    Die judge said of the ‘perverseDuchess (played by Claire Foy): ‘I consider her to be a highly sexed woman who had ceased to be satisfied with normal relations and had started to indulge in disgusting sexual activities to gratify a debase sexual appetite.

    She was ordered to pay most of the £50,000 legal bill and was associated with the notorious ‘headless manphotograph for the remaining 30 years of her life.

    Meanwhile nothing was said about the Duke’s own affairs or his subsequent remarriage to Mathilda Mortimer, a rich American, just six weeks later.

    The Duchess died almost penniless in a nursing home in London, thanks to her extravagant lifestyle and some bad investments that diminished her fortune.

    Dwindling fortunes: The Duchess of Argyll was defined by the divorce case and the 'Headless Man' photo for the rest of her life. Thanks to bad investments and her lavish lifestyle, her fortune diminished and in 1990 she was forced to move out of her Grosvenor Street apartment and into the Grosvenor House Hotel (op die foto, in front of a portrait of herself she installed)

    Dwindling fortunes: The Duchess of Argyll was defined by the divorce case and the ‘Headless Manphoto for the rest of her life. Thanks to bad investments and her lavish lifestyle, her fortune diminished and in 1990 she was forced to move out of her Grosvenor Street apartment and into the Grosvenor House Hotel (op die foto, in front of a portrait of herself she installed)

    Fourth wife: Meanwhile nothing was said about the Duke's own affairs or his subsequent remarriage to Mathilda Mortimer, a rich American, just six weeks later. Op die foto, the Duke of Argyll with Mathilda, the Duchess of Argyll, in Madrid in 1964 - a year after the divorce

    Fourth wife: Meanwhile nothing was said about the Duke’s own affairs or his subsequent remarriage to Mathilda Mortimer, a rich American, just six weeks later. Op die foto, the Duke of Argyll with Mathilda, the Duchess of Argyll, in Madrid in 1964 – a year after the divorce

    Brought to life: Paul Bettany and Claire Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll early on in their marriage in three-part BBC series A Very British Scandal, which ended last night

    Brought to life: Paul Bettany and Claire Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll early on in their marriage in three-part BBC series A Very British Scandal, which ended last night








    It was a tragic end for a vibrant society beauty once considered one of the most eligible women in Britain.

    Gebore in 1912, the only child of a self-made Scottish millionaire, Margaret was described by her biographer Lyndsy Spence as ‘a daddy’s girl with an absent father, living with a jealous mother who sought to remind Margaret of her every shortcoming’.

    As sulks, Margaret developed a stammer for which she was treated unsuccessfully by Lionel Logue, Koning George VI se spraakterapeut.

    Sy was regverdig 15 when the future movie star David Niven, two years her senior, got her pregnant while holidaying on the Isle of Wight, after which her father sent her to a London nursing home for a secret termination.

    As a young woman, her beauty was renowned in society and she was courted by princes and millionaires, welcoming playwright Noel Coward, actor Cary Grant and oil tycoon J Paul Getty, onder andere, to her Mayfair home.

    Spending beyond her means: Margaret Argyll attending a concert held by her granddaughter Lady Theresa Manners' band in London in 1985. She continued to live large despite not having the funds, and ended her life in a London nursing home

    Spending beyond her means: Margaret Argyll attending a concert held by her granddaughter Lady Theresa Mannersband in London in 1985. She continued to live large despite not having the funds, and ended her life in a London nursing home

    TV appearances: In 1988, Margaret Argyll, a vocal supporter of animal rights, appeared on Channel 4's After Dark to discuss the Grand National 'from the horse's point of view', but left halfway through filming because she was 'very tired', op die foto

    TV appearances: In 1988, Margaret Argyll, a vocal supporter of animal rights, appeared on Channel 4’s After Dark to discuss the Grand National ‘from the horse’s point of view’, but left halfway through filming because she was ‘very tired’, op die foto








    She went on to have four failed engagements before a failed marriage to Charles Sweeny, an Irish-American stockbroker.

    Their wedding day in 1933 was a glamorous affair, stop verkeer vir drie uur as 2,000 guests attended the Brompton Oratory in west London while another 2,000 onlookers gathered to see the stunning 28ft train to her Norman Hartnell wedding gown.

    Despite having a daughter, Frances, en 'n seun, Brian, saam, the couple’s relationship broke down after 14 jare, with Margaret claiming all Charlie wanted in a spouse was a ‘pretty brainless dolland they divorced in 1947.

    As A Very British Scandal viewers saw, her second doomed marriage to Ian, die 11de hertog van Argyll, ended in a divorce case that became one of the most expensive of the 20th century.

    Society swan: As a young woman, Margaret's beauty was renowned in society and she was courted by princes and millionaires, welcoming playwright Noel Coward, actor Cary Grant and oil tycoon J Paul Getty, onder andere, to her Mayfair home. Op die foto, in 1938

    Society swan: As a young woman, Margaret’s beauty was renowned in society and she was courted by princes and millionaires, welcoming playwright Noel Coward, actor Cary Grant and oil tycoon J Paul Getty, onder andere, to her Mayfair home. Op die foto, in 1938

    First husband: Margaret had four failed engagements before a failed marriage to Charles Sweeny, an Irish-American stockbroker. Their wedding day in 1933 was a glamorous affair, op die foto, stop verkeer vir drie uur as 2,000 guests attended the Brompton Oratory in west London while another 2,000 onlookers gathered to see the stunning bride

    First husband: Margaret had four failed engagements before a failed marriage to Charles Sweeny, an Irish-American stockbroker. Their wedding day in 1933 was a glamorous affair, op die foto, stop verkeer vir drie uur as 2,000 guests attended the Brompton Oratory in west London while another 2,000 onlookers gathered to see the stunning bride

    Parenthood: Margaret with husband Charles Sweeny at the christening of their daughter, Frances Helen, in 1937. Frances is now the Dowager Duchess of Rutland

    Parenthood: Margaret with husband Charles Sweeny at the christening of their daughter, Frances Helen, in 1937. Frances is now the Dowager Duchess of Rutland

    Central to the case was a set of blurry Polaroid snaps taken via the bathroom mirror of the duchess’s Mayfair apartment of her wearing nothing but her signature triple string of pearls. In some, she was entertaining an unidentified lover whose head had been cropped out of the picture and who came to be known as the ‘Headless Man’.

    It took four years after he filed for divorce for a verdict to be reached, which granted it to the duke on the grounds of Margaret’s adultery, as seen in last night’s episode.

    After the case Margaret fell out with her daughter Frances, who had not wanted her to oppose the divorce.

    Frances went on to marry Charles Manners, 10th Duke of Rutland, with whom she had four children, including David Manners, 11th Duke of Rutland, and current resident of the family seat of Belvoir Castle.

    In 'n vreemde wending, it served as one of the filming locations for Netflix’s The Crown, which also starred Claire Foy.

    Second marriage: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll in April 1952. The Duke was married to his second wife when he met the beautiful Margaret, and pursued her

    Second marriage: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll in April 1952. The Duke was married to his second wife when he met the beautiful Margaret, and pursued her

    Op die skerm: Bettany and Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal

    Op die skerm: Bettany and Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal

    Margaret Argyll continued to throw lavish parties at her Grosvenor House apartment throughout the 1970s and 1980s and called out her ex-husband the Duke as a ‘fiend and a sadist’.

    Op sy beurt, the Duke went on to marry divorcee Mathilda Coster Mortimer, granddaughter of New York banker and clubman William B. Coster who had previously been married to Clemens Heller, founder of a school in Salzburg, Oostenryk.

    The couple had a daughter, Lady Elspeth Campbell, who died in infancy.

    In 1969 they moved to France, splitting their time between Paris and Vézelay, but returned to Edinburgh before the Duke’s death in April 1973, op die ouderdom van 69. Mathilda Campbell died in 1997 in Parys.

    The Duke’s grandson Torquhil Campbell, 13de Hertog van Argyll, currently holds the title.

    Divorce case: The Duchess of Argyll arrives at court with her solicitor for the start of her divorce proceedings in 1962. The case was brought to life in the three-part BBC series

    Divorce case: The Duchess of Argyll arrives at court with her solicitor for the start of her divorce proceedings in 1962. The case was brought to life in the three-part BBC series

    Publicly shamed: Die hertogin (played by Claire Foy) was called out for her 'perversions' by the judge who said she had a 'debased' sexual appetite that had led to the end of her marriage

    Publicly shamed: Die hertogin (played by Claire Foy) was called out for her ‘perversionsby the judge who said she had a ‘debasedsexual appetite that had led to the end of her marriage

    So who was the headless man? Theories and rumoursand a secret Margaret took to the grave

    The ‘Headless Man’ in the salacious pictures of the duchess disclosed in the divorce case has never been definitively identified.

    Society ached to know his identity, and the duke was even required to pose naked to prove the torso wasn’t his.

    The suspects included Hollywood actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr and German diplomat Sigismund von Braun, but chief among them was Duncan Sandys, die Minister van Verdediging en Winston Churchill se skoonseun.

    'N Kanaal 4 documentary in 2000 claimed that the ‘Headless Man’ was in fact two different men – Sandys and Fairbanks Jr – but it seems this may be one secret Margaret carried with her to her grave.

    The scene was recreated to scandalous effect in the second episode of A Very British Scandal, with Claire Foy donning lingerie and pearls and handing the camera to her mystery lover.








    Notorious: The moment the Duchess performed a sexual act on a man in her Mayfair apartment - and captured it on camera - was recreated in A Very British Scandal

    Notorious: The moment the Duchess performed a sexual act on a man in her Mayfair apartmentand captured it on camerawas recreated in A Very British Scandal

    Scantily clad: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, die hertogin (Foy) handed her mystery lover the camera (hierbo) as she lowered herself down his body

    Scantily clad: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, die hertogin (Foy) handed her mystery lover the camera (hierbo) as she lowered herself down his body

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    Two years after her ex-husband’s death, Margaret Argyll published her memoir, Forget Not, which was ill-received by critics.

    It did not offer clues to the identity of the ‘Headless Man’, whose identity was a secret Margaret took to the grave.

    In 1979 she was given a gossip column in society bible Tatler magazine but it lasted only three years before being scrapped.

    However her antics remained of huge interest to gossip columnist and society tittle-tattles.

    In 1989 she was involved in a highly public prosecution of her Moroccan maid, who had run up a telephone bill of thousands of pounds. The maid claimed that the Duchess had said she could call her family overseas but didn’t remember doing so because she had been drunk on whisky.

    Jet set: Margaret Argyll continued to throw lavish parties at her Grosvenor House apartment throughout the 1970s and 1980s and called out her ex-husband the Duke as a 'fiend and a sadist'. Op die foto, striding through Heathrow Airport in 1965, two years after her divorce

    Jet set: Margaret Argyll continued to throw lavish parties at her Grosvenor House apartment throughout the 1970s and 1980s and called out her ex-husband the Duke as a ‘fiend and a sadist’. Op die foto, striding through Heathrow Airport in 1965, two years after her divorce

    Fourth wife: Op sy beurt, the Duke went on to marry divorcee Mathilda Coster Mortimer, granddaughter of New York banker and clubman William B. Coster. Bo, the couple in France in 1963. He died in Edinburgh in 1973, op die ouderdom van 69

    Fourth wife: Op sy beurt, the Duke went on to marry divorcee Mathilda Coster Mortimer, granddaughter of New York banker and clubman William B. Coster. Bo, the couple in France in 1963. He died in Edinburgh in 1973, op die ouderdom van 69

    The maid’s stories were dismissed and she was given a suspended sentence.

    The Duchess also fell out with another maid, Edith Springett, who was in her employ for more than a decade but was roundly dismissed when she was found passed out in her employer’s bedroom next to an empty bottle of whisky.

    Demonstrating her kinder side, Margaret Argyll also adopted two boys, who she put through school, and delighted in a series of miniature French poodles.

    Two years after her ex-husband's death, Margaret Argyll published her memoir, Forget Not (1975), which was ill-received by critics

    Two years after her ex-husband’s death, Margaret Argyll published her memoir, Forget Not (1975), which was ill-received by critics

    In the final 20 years of her life, Margaret Argyll made a handful of TV appearances. In 1977 she spoke to Melvyn Bragg vir BBC‘s Read All About It, saying she ‘didn’t likethe ‘unkindpress attention that came following her high-profile divorce from her husband.

    She explained she had found coverage in the 1930s to 1950swhen she was a much admired debutante‘very pleasant’, adding she was friends with journalists who she ‘absolutely trusted.

    However she said she had found publicity had become ‘ghastly’, toevoeging: ‘ I must say lately, the press, has become very unkind to put it quite mildly. I haven’t liked it at all.

    In 1988, Margaret Argyll, a vocal supporter of animal rights, appeared on Channel 4’s After Dark to discuss the Grand National ‘from the horse’s point of view’, but left halfway through filming because she was ‘very tired’.

    In her later years, thanks to bad investments and spending beyond her means, Margaret’s fortune dwindled.

    In die koerante: The Duchess' antics remained of huge interest to gossip columnist and society tittle-tattles. Op die foto, buite die hof in 1971, when she sued her solicitor for negligence

    In die koerante: Die hertogin’ antics remained of huge interest to gossip columnist and society tittle-tattles. Op die foto, buite die hof in 1971, when she sued her solicitor for negligence

    In 1978 was forced to move from her Grosvenor House apartment into a suite in the Grosvenor House Hotelwith her maid in tow.

    Twelve years later she was evicted in the hotel but was able to move into an apartment thanks to the support of friends and her first husband, Charles Sweeny.

    She later took up residence in a nursing home, where she died almost penniless in 1993, after a bad fall. Sy was 80 jaar oud.

    Margaret Argyll is buried next to her first husband Charles, who died just four months before her, at Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, Surrey.

    Praat uit: In 'n 1977 onderhoud (hierbo) she slammed the 'ghastly' press coverage she received following the divorce from her husband

    Praat uit: In 'n 1977 onderhoud (hierbo) she slammed the ‘ghastlypress coverage she received following the divorce from her husband

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