Duchess of Argyll divorce: What was the 'headless man' Polaroid picture?

A POLAROID picture was one of the key pieces of evidence in the scandalous divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll.

The mystery man in the explicit photo became known as the 'headless man' and his identity has been largely speculated.

Why was the Duchess of Argyll's divorce so scandalous?

The Duke and Duchess of Argyll's infamous 1963 divorce captured the public's attention with its twists and scandalous revelations.

The Duchess, Margaret Campbell, was a British socialite known for her lavish lifestyle and a string of high-profile affairs.

The couple married in 1951, but their marriage soon turned sour after the Duke accused Margaret of being unfaithful.

During the divorce proceedings, the Duke produced various incriminating letters and photographs, which he took from the Duchess's Mayfair home.

What was the 'headless man' Polaroid?

One of the explicit photographs presented in court was a Polaroid of the Duchess, wearing nothing but her signature triple-string of pearls, standing next to an unidentified man.

The photo, in which the man was only captured from the neck down, became knows as the 'headless man' Polaroid.

The Duchess refused to reveal who the man is, leaving the press to speculate about his identity.

Another, racier Polaroid, showing the Duchess pleasuring a man, was also produced.

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Who was the man in the picture?

Although the identity of the 'headless man' may never be confirmed, a 2000 Channel 4 documentary revealed that two men are the most likely candidates.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr

The movie star was named as Margaret’s lover, one of the 88 men on the list that the Duke produced in court.

Fairbanks Jr and Margaret both denied he was the Headless Man, but he was identified through his handwriting.

Duncan Sandys

One rumour suggests it was the former Minister of Defence, Duncan Sandys (who later became the son-in-law of Winston Churchill).

Following the scandal, he offered to resign from the cabinet but his resignation was declined.

The Channel 4 documentary "proved" that Sandys is the 'headless man', based on a claim from Margaret that the only Polaroid camera in the country at the time had been lent to the Ministry of Defence.

John Cohane

American businessman John Cohane was names as another one of Margaret's lovers.

According to Lord Wheatley, the judge on the case, he had “the morals of a tomcat . . . a self-confessed wolf”.

Peter Combe

Margaret's rumoured affair with the ex-press officer at the Savoy was named as one of the key affairs in the divorce proceedings.

Sigismund von Braun

The German diplomat and brother of the Nazi scientist Werner von Braun, who invented the Nazis’ V-2 rocket, was another possible candidate for the 'headless man' in photo.

What did the Duke of Argyll accuse his wife of doing?

Although the couple's personal relationship had ended long before the divorce, The Duke of Argyll was furious at the numerous affairs Margaret had during their marriage.

During the divorce proceedings, he listed 88 men who he believed his wife had an affair with, including Hollywood actors, two government ministers and three British royals.

To find evidence of infidelity, he broke into Margaret's personal cupboard in their London house, where he found the infamous Polaroids along with letters and other private documents.

Upon seeing the presented evidence in court, the judge, Lord Wheatley, said:

“There is enough in her own admissions and proven facts to establish that by 1960 she was a completely promiscuous woman whose sexual appetite could only be satisfied with a number of men.

"She . . . had ceased to be satisfied with normal relations and had started to indulge in disgusting sexual activities."

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