Stephen Ward

From Academic Kids

Dr Stephen Ward ( - 3 August 1963), the son of Canon Arthur Evelyn Ward, Canon of Rochester Cathedral, was a fashionable London osteopath and talented portrait artist as well.

Ward had qualified to practice as an osteopath in Missouri. In 1949 he married Patricia Mary Baines. They later divorced.

Something of a social butterfly, Ward appeared to survive on the largess and patronage of the rich and powerful of his time. “I know a lot of very important people and am often received in some of the most famous homes in the country,” said Ward, “Sir Winston Churchill and many leading politicians have been among my patients”. As a portrait artist, he had members of the Royal Family and politicians sit for him. “Prince Philip, The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Lord Snowden have been among my sitters.”

Ward also had an interest in young girls of humble origin. “I like pretty girls,” he is reported as saying at the time of his trial. “I am sensitive to their needs and the stresses of modern living.” Ward introduced these pretty girls to many establishment figures in Britain during the 1950s and early 60s. Ward introduced Christine Keeler, then a feisty, but impressionable, teenager, into a world which she had never before encountered, which was peopled with the rich and famous, aristocratic, charming and powerful men, all eager to meet her and take her out. Keeler, and later Mandy Rice-Davies, moved into Ward’s Wimpole Mews flat. The relationship was platonic with Keeler, but not so with Rice-Davies, to whom Ward at one time proposed marriage.

In July 1961, Ward introduced Keeler to John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War, at a pool party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Viscount Astor. Profumo entered into an affair with Keeler, not suspecting that she was also sleeping with Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attaché at the embassy of the Soviet Union. Ward was in fact cooperating with MI5 to entrap Ivanov, which led to Profumo's affair becoming known quickly in establishment circles, but would not save Ward. Rumours about the affair became public in 1962.

In the fallout of the Profumo scandal Ward was arrested in June 1963 in Watford and taken to Marylebone Lane police station. He was charged: ‘That he, being a man, did on divers dates between January 1961 and 8 June 1963, knowingly live wholly or in part on the earning of prostitution at 17 Wimpole Mews, contrary to section 30 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956.’ Other charges were to follow and he was and put on trial. MI5 denied that Ward had informed them of the affair soon after it began. The trial exposed Ward and his social circle to the full glare of the media, neatly detracting from the political and diplomatic scandal. Rumours began to spread of an international callgirl ring involving British and US politicians and celebrities. Ward committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping tablets on the very last day of the trial. He was in a coma when the jury reached their guilty verdict, and he died after three days. It is claimed he was the scapegoat in the scandal, but Profumo was forced to resign and the Conservative government lost the next election to Harold Wilson’s Labour Party.

In her 2001 autobiography, Keeler claimed, without supporting evidence, that the MI5 chief of the time, Sir Roger Hollis, was a Soviet spy; and that Stephen Ward ran a spy ring which included Hollis and Sir Anthony Blunt.

Stephen Ward was played by John Hurt in Scandal, a 1989 film about the Profumo affair.

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