John Dennis Profumo, CBE (30 January 1915 – 9 March 2006), always known as Jack Profumo, was a British soldier and politician. A scandal, known as the Profumo affair, led to his resignation and withdrawal from politics. It may have damaged the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan. Profumo spent his later life working for charities.
|Secretary of State for War|
27 July 1960 – 5 June 1963
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||Christopher Soames|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Godber|
John Dennis Profumo
30 January 1915
Kensington, London, England
|Died||9 March 2006 (aged 91)|
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, South Kensington, London, England
(m. 1954-1998, her death)
|Alma mater||Brasenose College, Oxford|
|Years of service||1939 – 1950|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
Profumo's father was a barrister, though the Profumo family's money was in insurance. The family sold the Provident Life Association for £6 million in the 1980s. Profumo was educated at Harrow and Brasenose College, Oxford. He joined the Army when war was declared, and in 1940 he became the youngest Member of Parliament. His military career is described:
- "Profumo had a distinguished military career, being mentioned in dispatches during the North Africa campaign, and being appointed OBE (military) while serving on Field Marshal Alexander's staff in Italy. He was present at the surrender of the German forces in Italy and was later appointed Brigadier and Chief of Staff to the British Liaison Mission to General MacArthur in Japan. He also landed in Normandy on D-Day with an armoured brigade, and took part in the fierce fighting at Caen and in Operation Goodwood".
Profumo's political career was ruined by a combination of events. He and his wife accepted an invitation from Lord Astor to spend a weekend at his country estate, Clivedon. During that weekend he saw Christine Keeler get out of the swimming pool naked. Profumo asked for her phone number, and they became lovers. Unfortunately for Profumo, she was also having an affair with the Russian naval attaché and spy, Yevgeny Ivanov. When MI5 discovered this from a tip-off, Profumo ended the affair. Rumours circulated, and he was directly challenged about his relationship in the House of Commons. In a personal statement to the House of Commons, Profumo denied the accusation. This was perhaps his biggest mistake. He eventually confessed his affair, and resigned from the government and from Parliament.
Profumo was later (1975) awarded the CBE for services to charity.
- "'Even if the heart bleeds almost to death, passionate love is worth it'". Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Daily Teleraph: Obituary of John Profumo