What happened to Margaret Campbell?

A Very British Scandal on BBC One: What became of Margaret Campbell after the scandalous divorce?

Her final years were rather tragic...

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A Very British Scandal concluded on BBC One tonight (Tuesday December 28 2021) with the Duke of Argyll being granted his divorce from his wife – but what happened to Margaret Campbell?

The former Duchess of Argyll suffered a very public humiliation during her divorce from husband Ian Campbell.

But did she marry again, and how did she die?

***Warning: spoilers from episode three ahead***

Duchess and Duke of Argyll in A Very British Scandal
The Duchess and Duke of Argyll – played by Claire Foy and Paul Bettany – in A Very British Scandal (Credit: BBC One)

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A Very British Scandal episode three – what happened to Margaret Campbell?

At the end of episode three of A Very British Scandal, the Duchess of Argyll is a Duchess no more.

Margaret Campbell endured a very public and misogynistic trial.

The judge called her a “liar” and “promiscuous” and “perverse”.

He described her as “a highly sexed woman who had indulged in disgusting sexual activities to gratify a debased sexual appetite”.

He granted the divorce on the grounds on adultery.

The Duke paid one eighth of the expense of the trial, while she had to pay the rest.

Lord Wheatley’s judgment took three hours and 10 minutes to deliver.

The following day, intimate details of the case made headlines around the world.

Margaret Campbell née Sweeny was the first woman to have been publicly shamed by the mass media – but sadly not the last.

She was always associated with the Polaroid photo, and never able to shake off the stigma.

But she never revealed the identity of the ‘headless’ man in the picture, or the meaning of ‘V” in her diaries.

Ian and Margaret Campbell
Ian and Margaret Campbell on their wedding day (Credit: YouTube)

What happened to Margaret after her divorce?

Five weeks after the divorce, Ian Campbell married an American heiress.

Margaret never remarried and eventually fell from grace even further.

As time went on, Margaret’s fortune diminished.

She was forced to open her London house at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street for paid tours.

Even so, her extravagant lifestyle and ill-considered investments left her largely penniless by the time she died.

In 1978, her debts forced Margaret to move from Upper Grosvenor Street and relocate with her maid to a suite at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

In 1990, unable to pay the hotel bills, she was evicted.

With the support of friends and her first husband she moved to an apartment.

On the verge of financial destitution, she fell from grace and was eventually abandoned by most of her friends

Her two children later placed her in a nursing home in Pimlico, London.

A Very British scandal on the BBC this Xmas
Claire Foy as the Duchess of Argyll, but what happened to Margaret Campbell? (Credit: BBC One)

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Margaret Campbell memoir

Margaret wrote a memoir, Forget Not.

It was published in 1975.

Critics gave it negative reviews claiming Margaret was guilty of name dropping.

They also accused her of having an air of entitlement.

The book is no longer in circulation.

How did Margaret die?

Margaret died in extreme poverty in 1993.

She was 80.

Her death came after a bad fall in the nursing home.

Undertakers buried her alongside her first husband, Charles Sweeny, in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, Surrey.

A Very British Scandal is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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