Duchess of Argyll accident: Margaret Campbell’s near-fatal accident explained

A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy stars in BBC trailer

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A Very British Scandal concludes on BBC One tonight (December 28) and it will see the divorce settlement between the Duke and Duchess of Argyll conclude. Fans have been transfixed on The Crown star Claire Foy’s portrayal of Margaret Campbell, who was found to have committed adultery by her husband Ian Campbell (Paul Bettany). Express.co.uk has all you need to know about the near-fatal accident the Duchess suffered.

A Very British Scandal tells the story of how the Duke of Argyll discovered the extent of his wife’s adultery.

Suspicious of the Duchess, he managed to track down images of his wife with other men, which acted as evidence in court.

Margaret Campbell was branded the Dirty Duchess and was known for her desire for sex.

Viewers are keen to find out more about the Duchess, who became the first woman to be publicly shamed in the mainstream media.

In 1943, whilst married to her first husband Charles Francis Sweeny, she had a near-fatal fall.

She fell down a lift shaft whilst visiting her chiropodist on Bond Street.

In Forget Not: The Autobiography of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, she recalled the moment it happened.

She said: “I fell forty feet to the bottom of the lift shaft.

“The only thing that saved me was the lift cable, which broke my fall.

“I must have clutched at it, for it was later found that all my fingernails were torn off.

“I apparently fell onto my knees and cracked the back of my head against the wall.”

She suffered significant trauma to her head and people speculate the accident made her a different woman.

Four years after the fall, she divorced her first husband.

Some believe the incident triggered the nymphomania – or the uncontrollable desire for sex.

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Her husband Ian Campbell believed she had been sexually involved with at least 88 possible men.

Lord Wheatley, who was ruling on the case, described her as “a highly-sexed woman who had ceased to be satisfied with normal relations”.

The proceedings continued for a further three hours as Lord Wheatley delivered his judgement.

Five weeks after the divorce was finalised, Ian Campbell remarried.

Margaret was the first woman to be publicly shamed and she continued to be associated with the damning photographs.

The identities of the men in the Polaroids were never revealed, but there were various suspects.

The Duchess had been seen posing naked in the photos alongside a man whose head had been cropped out.

Her secret lover became known as the ‘Headless Man’, and it is not known whether more than one man was involved.

A Very British Scandal concludes tonight on BBC One at 9pm.

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