11 Chic Pics Of The Real Margaret, Duchess Of Argyll

Played by Claire Foy in A Very British Scandal, the Duchess was famously glamorous.

by Bustle UK
British socialite Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll (1912 - 1993) wearing printed dress and Gains...
Bert Hardy/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Born Ethel Margaret Whigham in 1912, the only child of Helen and George Whigham, Margaret grew up to be the It girl of her day; a newspaper darling, dominating front pages from a young age. At 17 she was presented at court and named debutante of the year.

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Her acrimonious 1963 divorce from Ian Campbell captured the attention of the press for very different reasons. The notorious legal proceeding is the subject of BBC’s A Very British Scandal. Pictured here is the real Margaret, outside the law courts on the second day of her case.

Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Her divorce from Ian Campbell wasn’t Margaret’s first. Prior to marrying the Duke of Argyll, she wed – and later divorced– Charles Sweeny, an Irish-American golfer and stockbroker. The 1933 wedding was said to have brought traffic in Knightsbridge to an absolute standstill for three hours.

Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Known in aristocratic circles for her charisma, beauty, and style, Margaret Campbell, was quite the fashionista, too. Here she is pictured with Royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell, and her daughter Frances Sweeney, at a cocktail party in 1956.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Margaret and Ian Campbell married on March 22, 1951, at Caxton Hall in London before leaving for Inveraray, the Argyll’s ancestral seat. Margaret convinced her father to fund the (very costly) renovation of the estate. It wasn’t long before the marriage began to break apart.

Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The duke started divorce proceedings when she stopped paying his bills, per the Guardian. The legal case was described as the “longest” and “costliest” divorce in British history, taking four years and racking up a bill of £50,000.

Bert Hardy/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Margaret (pictured here in 1955) was accused of having affairs, and taking, by the duke’s count, 88 lovers, including cabinet members, Hollywood actors, and even members of the royal family.

Ian Tyas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

While granting the divorce, the judge said of Margaret that she was “a completely promiscuous woman whose sexual appetite could only be satisfied with a number of men.” He described her attitude to marriage as “wholly immoral.”

Tim Roney/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“I felt very strongly that [Margaret] had been punished for being a woman, for being visible, for refusing to back down, be a good girl and go quietly,” said A Very British Scandal creator and writer Sarah Phelps. Pictured here at The Grosvenor House Hotel, circa 1990.

Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Margaret remained a tabloid favourite long after her divorce. In the ‘70s she opened up her Mayfair house to paying visitors, before moving to the Grosvenor House hotel. She passed away in 1993.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!