At the time of the Profumo Affair, as it is known, the idea that a ‘call girl’ could be sleeping with a government minister under Harold Macmillan and associating with a Soviet consular official at the same time was considered scandalous. Hence the title of this film.
But, since I was a pre-teen during these events, I didn’t examine what might have really been going on. It was a classic “honey trap” meant to turn a Soviet spy into becoming a double agent for MI6. So, everything was ‘known’ at a higher level, including the identity of the ‘mystery man’ photographed from behind in one of Stephen Ward’s parties. The season two, episode ten of The Crown suggests that it might have been Prince Philip, and that’s the essence of the true scandal.
“In the 1989 edition of their book Honeytrap, Summers and Dorril add a postscript that provides extra details of Ward’s last hours, his movements and his visitors. The postscript includes details of an interview with “a former MI6 operative” who asserted that Ward had been murdered by an agent working on behalf of MI6. The main motive for the killing was, supposedly, Ward’s continuing ability to embarrass the government and the Royal family. There is no direct evidence to support this story. The reporter Tom Mangold, one of the last to see Ward alive, dismisses the murder theory, while allowing that there are unexplained circumstances relating to Ward’s death.” (Wikipedia note)
So, it wasn’t so much that a member of government was sleeping with a young girl (because that probably happened a lot), but that the Royal Family was implicated and the public knowledge of that ‘secret’ couldn’t be tolerated.