BBC One drama series A Very British Scandal – the unconnected follow-up to A Very English Scandal, the latter starring Hugh Grant –makes its debut this Boxing Day, with another gripping tale of sex and scandal.


The show stars The Crown's Claire Foy and WandaVision's Paul Bettany, and tells the true story of the Argyll divorce, "one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th century," according to the BBC.

However, less well-known is what became of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, and Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll, following their infamous divorce in 1963.

Read on to learn what happened to the real Margaret and Ian Campbell following their divorce.

What happened to Margaret and Ian from A Very British Scandal?

A Very British Scandal
Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, and Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll at their wedding in 1951 (Getty Images) Getty Images

Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, and Scottish nobleman Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll, divorced in 1963, just over a decade after their wedding in 1951. Margaret was the Duke's third wife; Ian was her second husband.

The 1963 divorce case had scandalised the nation, after the Duke produced a cache of salacious Polaroids (obtained without Margaret's consent) showing his then-wife performing fellatio on another man, as evidence of her infidelity. Margaret subsequently became known as the "Dirty Duchess" in the press.

In June 1963, the Duke remarried for the fourth and final time, to American Mathilda Coster Mortimer Heller. He died of a stroke in April 1973, ten years after divorcing Margaret.

Margaret, who had become persona non grata in the British upper-class set, never remarried, and died in 1990 at the age of 80. She was buried alongside her first husband, Charles Sweeny, with whom she had three children.

In a statement, writer Sarah Phelps said: “Writing the story of Margaret’s life and the events leading up to and including her divorce from the Duke has been a passion project of mine since 1993 when I first heard her name and started learning about her.

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"I felt very strongly that she’d been punished for being a woman, for being visible, for refusing to back down, be a good girl and go quietly. This drama is my tribute to her."

A Very British Scandal will premiere at 9pm on Boxing Day on BBC One, with all three episodes available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer from that time. The series also continues across the following two nights on BBC One.

While you wait, take a look at our other Drama coverage, or find out what else to watch with our TV Guide.


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