The Duchess of Argyll, who was involved in a famous sex scandal back in 1963, never disclosed the identity of the ‘headless man’ with whom she was photographed performing a sex act.
It was thought that she took that secret with her to her grave; she died in 1993 at the age of 80.
The man whose face was cut out of the highly controversial image has now been identified as American airline executive William ‘Bill’ H Lyons. The claim was made by the late Duchess of Argyll’s stepdaughter-in law, Lady Colin Campbell.
During their divorce trial, Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll and the Duchess’s husband, produced a number of sexually-explicit images which he found belonging to his wife.
At the time the sex scandal was received by the public by what can only be described as shock, overshadowed only by the infamous Profumo affair which took place in the same year.
Speculators at the time said that the man in the pictures was either Duncan Sandys, a cabinet minister and Winston Churchill’s son-in-law, or the actor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Lady Colin said that the Duchess of Argyll had revealed to her at the time that the ‘headless man’ was Bill Lyons.
Lyons came from a wealthy background and was the sales director of Pan American Airlines. He was said to have been having an affair with the Duchess for over six years.
Lady Colin is reported to have revealed: “The mystery of The Headless Man distorted Margaret’s life while she was alive, and it threatens to distort her memory in death … It is to restore some small measure of justice that I have decided to end the mystery and reveal who it was in the picture with her, and why. I know the answer for a fact because, in the course of our long friendship, it was Margaret who told me.”