A Very British Scandal, a BBC three-part drama ended last night. The story of the Duchess and Duke of Argyll’s four-year long divorce battle would forever define her.

It took over three hours to complete the 50,000-word judgment in which the Duke, played by Paul Bettany, received a decree. 

It Judge said about the “perverse” Duchess, played by Claire Foy: “I consider her to have been a very sexy woman who had stopped being satisfied with normal relationships and had begun to indulge in disgusting sexual actions to satisfy a debase sexual desire.”

She was ordered to pay most of the £50,000 legal bill and was associated with the notorious ‘headless man’ photograph for the remaining 30 years of her life. 

Six weeks after his remarriage to Mathilda, an American woman of wealth, nothing was reported about the Duke’s personal affairs. 

Because of her excessive lifestyle and poor investments which reduced her wealth, she died in London’s nursing home almost broke.  

Dwindling fortunes: The Duchess of Argyll was defined by the divorce case and the 'Headless Man' photo for the rest of her life. Thanks to bad investments and her lavish lifestyle, her fortune diminished and in 1990 she was forced to move out of her Grosvenor Street apartment and into the Grosvenor House Hotel (pictured, in front of a portrait of herself she installed)

Dwindling fortunes. The divorce case was the most significant event in the life of the Duchess. She also took the ‘Headless Man” photo throughout her entire life. Her poor investments and extravagant lifestyle led to her losing her fortune. In 1990, she had to leave her Grosvenor Street apartment to make way for the Grosvenor House Hotel. (Photo: She installed a portrait of herself in the background).

Fourth wife: Meanwhile nothing was said about the Duke's own affairs or his subsequent remarriage to Mathilda Mortimer, a rich American, just six weeks later. Pictured, the Duke of Argyll with Mathilda, the Duchess of Argyll, in Madrid in 1964 - a year after the divorce

Fourth wife: Meanwhile nothing was said about the Duke’s own affairs or his subsequent remarriage to Mathilda Mortimer, a rich American, just six weeks later. Photo: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll pictured together in Madrid 1964, one year after the divorce.

Brought to life: Paul Bettany and Claire Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll early on in their marriage in three-part BBC series A Very British Scandal, which ended last night

It was brought to life by Claire Foy, Paul Bettany, and Claire Foy who played the Duke and Duchess Argyll during their early marriage. They were featured in the three-part BBC drama A Very British Scandal which ended last evening.

A vibrant, attractive woman once considered the best in Britain died tragically. 

Margaret, born in 1912 as the sole child of an independent Scottish millionaire, was described by Lyndsy Spence, her biographer, as “a daddy’s daughter with an absent father and living with a jealous mom who tried to remind Margaret about every fault she had”. 

Margaret became a speech therapist for King George VI, Lionel Logue.

At just fifteen, David Niven, a future film star, fell in love with her while she was on vacation on the Isle of Wight. After that, her father took her to London and gave her a secret termination. 

Her beauty as a young lady was well-known in society. She was invited to Mayfair by millionaires and princes, including actor Cary Grant, playwright Noel Coward and oil tycoon J Paul Getty.  

Spending beyond her means: Margaret Argyll attending a concert held by her granddaughter Lady Theresa Manners' band in London in 1985. She continued to live large despite not having the funds, and ended her life in a London nursing home

Margaret Argyll, who spent more than she could afford: Margaret Argyll attends a concert organized by Lady Theresa Manners’ London band in 1985. Even though she didn’t have the money, she lived large and died in a London nursing facility.

TV appearances: In 1988, Margaret Argyll, a vocal supporter of animal rights, appeared on Channel 4's After Dark to discuss the Grand National 'from the horse's point of view', but left halfway through filming because she was 'very tired', pictured

Television appearances

After four unsuccessful engagements, she married Charles Sweeny (an Irish-American stockbroker). 

Their 1933 wedding day was an eventful affair. Traffic was stopped at Brompton Oratory for three hours while 2,000 wedding guests waited. Meanwhile, 2,000 others gathered to view the beautiful 28ft train of Norman Hartnell’s wedding dress. 

The couple had a daughter Frances and a son Brian together. However, their relationship ended after 14 years. Margaret claimed that Charlie was just a “pretty brainless doll” and the divorce took place in 1947.

A Very British Scamal viewers were able to see that she had a second failed marriage to Ian, 11th Duke, of Argyll. This resulted in a divorcing case that was among the most expensive cases of the 20th. 

Society swan: As a young woman, Margaret's beauty was renowned in society and she was courted by princes and millionaires, welcoming playwright Noel Coward, actor Cary Grant and oil tycoon J Paul Getty, among others, to her Mayfair home. Pictured, in 1938

Society swans: Margaret, a young girl, was known for her beauty and was courted and adored by many millionaires. They welcomed Noel Coward as well as actor Cary Grant, oil tycoon J Paul Getty and other writers to her Mayfair residence. In 1938

First husband: Margaret had four failed engagements before a failed marriage to Charles Sweeny, an Irish-American stockbroker. Their wedding day in 1933 was a glamorous affair, pictured, stopping traffic for three hours as 2,000 guests attended the Brompton Oratory in west London while another 2,000 onlookers gathered to see the stunning bride

Before marrying Charles Sweeny (an Irish-American stockbroker), Margaret was engaged to four times before she finally fell for him. It was an extraordinary wedding in 1933. The traffic stopped at Brompton oratory, west London for three hours, while the bride and her stunning family were seen by 2,000 others.

Parenthood: Margaret with husband Charles Sweeny at the christening of their daughter, Frances Helen, in 1937. Frances is now the Dowager Duchess of Rutland

Parents: Margaret and Charles Sweeny with their daughter Frances Helen in 1937 at the Christening. Frances is currently the Dowager Duchess in Rutland

The case revolved around a series of blurry Polaroid photos taken through the bathroom mirror in the Mayfair apartment. They showed the duchess wearing only her trademark triple string pearls. Some pictures show her entertaining her unidentified lover, whose head was cropped from the photo. He became known as “Headless man” 

It took four years after he filed for divorce for a verdict to be reached, which granted it to the duke on the grounds of Margaret’s adultery, as seen in last night’s episode. 

Margaret fell out after the case with Frances, her daughter who did not wish her to oppose divorce. 

Frances went on to marry Charles Manners, 10th Duke of Rutland, with whom she had four children, including David Manners, 11th Duke of Rutland, and current resident of the family seat of Belvoir Castle.

Strangely, the location was used to film Netflix’s The Crown. Claire Foy is also featured in The Crown. 

Second marriage: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll in April 1952. The Duke was married to his second wife when he met the beautiful Margaret, and pursued her

In April 1952, the Duke and Duchess were married again. When he first met Margaret, he was already married. He then pursued his love for her.

On screen: Bettany and Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal

Screen: Bettany & Foy playing the Duchess of Archyll and Duke in A Very British Scandal 

Margaret Argyll kept throwing lavish parties in her Grosvenor House home throughout the 1970s, 1980s. She also called her husband the Duke a ‘fiend’ and a’saint’. 

For his part, the Duke went on to marry divorcee Mathilda Coster Mortimer, granddaughter of New York banker and clubman William B. Coster who had previously been married to Clemens Heller, founder of a school in Salzburg, Austria.

The couple had a daughter, Lady Elspeth Campbell, who died in infancy. 

In 1969 they moved to France, splitting their time between Paris and Vézelay, but returned to Edinburgh before the Duke’s death in April 1973, at the age of 69. Mathilda died in Paris on April 7, 1997. 

The Duke’s grandson Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, currently holds the title. 

Divorce case: The Duchess of Argyll arrives at court with her solicitor for the start of her divorce proceedings in 1962. The case was brought to life in the three-part BBC series

Divorce case: The Duchess of Argyll arrives at court with her solicitor for the start of her divorce proceedings in 1962. Three-part BBC Series brought this case to life.

Publicly shamed: The Duchess (played by Claire Foy) was called out for her 'perversions' by the judge who said she had a 'debased' sexual appetite that had led to the end of her marriage

Public shame: Claire Foy plays the Duchess. She was accused of having a sexual desire that was ‘debased’ and had caused her to end her marriage.

Who was this headless man then? There are theories, rumors and secret Margaret who went to the tomb.

The ‘Headless Man’ in the salacious pictures of the duchess disclosed in the divorce case has never been definitively identified. 

Society ached to know his identity, and the duke was even required to pose naked to prove the torso wasn’t his.

The suspects included Hollywood actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr and German diplomat Sigismund von Braun, but chief among them was Duncan Sandys, the Minister of Defence and Winston Churchill’s son-in-law. 

A Channel 4 documentary in 2000 claimed that the ‘Headless Man’ was in fact two different men – Sandys and Fairbanks Jr – but it seems this may be one secret Margaret carried with her to her grave.

It was recreated with scandalous results in A Very British Scandal’s second episode. Claire Foy donned lingerie and pearls while handing her camera to her mystery lover. 

Notorious: The moment the Duchess performed a sexual act on a man in her Mayfair apartment - and captured it on camera - was recreated in A Very British Scandal

It’s a scandalous moment: A Very British Scandal captured the moment that the Duchess engaged in a sexual act with a man in Mayfair.

Scantily clad: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, the Duchess (Foy) handed her mystery lover the camera (above) as she lowered herself down his body

Scantily clad: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, the Duchess (Foy) handed her mystery lover the camera (above) as she lowered herself down his body

Margaret Argyll’s memoir was published two years later, after the death of her husband. The critics did not like Forget Not

It didn’t provide any clues as to who the ‘Headless Man was’. His identity, however, was something Margaret carried to her grave. 

She was granted a gossip column by Tatler in 1979, but the article was scrapped after three years.  

Her antics were still of great interest to society gossip columnsists and society tittle-tattles.

She was involved in an extremely public prosecution against her Moroccan maid. Her maid had collected a phone bill totalling thousands of pounds. According to the maid, she claimed the Duchess told her she could phone family members overseas. However, she didn’t recall doing this because she was drunk with whisky.

Jet set: Margaret Argyll continued to throw lavish parties at her Grosvenor House apartment throughout the 1970s and 1980s and called out her ex-husband the Duke as a 'fiend and a sadist'. Pictured, striding through Heathrow Airport in 1965, two years after her divorce

Jet set: Margaret Argyll continued to throw lavish parties at her Grosvenor House apartment throughout the 1970s and 1980s and called out her ex-husband the Duke as a ‘fiend and a sadist’. Two years after she divorced her husband, this is Margaret Argyll, walking through Heathrow Airport 1965.

Fourth wife: For his part, the Duke went on to marry divorcee Mathilda Coster Mortimer, granddaughter of New York banker and clubman William B. Coster. Above, the couple in France in 1963. He died in Edinburgh in 1973, at the age of 69

Fourth wife: The Duke married Mathilda Coster-Mortimer, a divorcee and granddaughter of William B. Coster, a New York clubman and banker. Above is the 1963 French couple. In 1973, he died at Edinburgh.

She was sentenced to a suspended sentence after the maid told her stories.

Edith Springett also got into a dispute with the Duchess. Edith had worked for Edith more than 10 years, but she was dismissed after Edith was discovered lying in bed next to a bottle of whisky in her bedroom. 

Margaret Argyll, a kind and gentle soul, adopted two children. She put them through school.  

Two years after her ex-husband's death, Margaret Argyll published her memoir, Forget Not (1975), which was ill-received by critics

Margaret Argyll’s memoir Forget Not (1975), was published two years later after the death of her husband. It received little praise from critics.

Margaret Argyll only made a few TV appearances in her final years. In 1977 she spoke to Melvyn Bragg for BBC’s Read All About It, saying she ‘didn’t like’ the ‘unkind’ press attention that came following her high-profile divorce from her husband.

She said she found coverage from the 1930s through 1950s, when she was an admired debutante.

But she stated that publicity was becoming ‘ghastly’ for her, and she added, ‘I have to say, lately, it has been very unkind, to put this mildly. It’s not something I like at all.

Margaret Argyll (vocalist for animal rights) appeared on Channel 4’s After Dark, discussing the Grand National from the horse’s point of view’ in 1988. However, she left mid-filming due to exhaustion. 

Margaret’s fortune declined in later life due to her poor investment decisions and her excessive spending.   

In the papers: The Duchess' antics remained of huge interest to gossip columnist and society tittle-tattles. Pictured, outside court in 1971, when she sued her solicitor for negligence

In the papers: The Duchess’ antics remained of huge interest to gossip columnist and society tittle-tattles. This is her outside the courtroom in 1971 when she sued her solicitor.

In 1978, she was obliged to relocate from Grosvenor Place to a Grosvenor Room Hotel Suite with her maid. 

12 years later, she was forced out of the hotel by her husband. However, thanks to Charles Sweeny’s support and friends, she was eventually able to rent an apartment. 

Following a fall in her 80s, she moved into a nursing home. In 1993, she was almost broke and died. At 80, she was a senior citizen. 

Margaret Argyll, her first husband, is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking (Surrey), alongside Charles.

Speaking out: In a 1977 interview (above) she slammed the 'ghastly' press coverage she received following the divorce from her husband

Talking out: She reacted to the negative press coverage that she was subjected to after her divorce proceedings from her husband in 1977 (above).