As a young boy, David Profumo and his family made an ‘annual summer pilgrimage north to my uncle’s estate in Sutherland’. ‘My first thrill’ on arrival, he relates in this memoir, ‘was to unload the Vauxhall shooting brake’. Not many nine-year-olds would have known what a shooting brake was, let alone been allowed anywhere near one.
At the lodge, a tweedified aristocratic pantomime unfolded. The crofters paid their rents in person to ‘His Lordship’. In the evening the men wore smoking jackets and suede slippers and played bridge or dumb crambo. Dumb crambo!
It was, on the surface, a gilded childhood, but with dark shadows cast by the boy’s father, John, and the scandal known as the Profumo affair. ‘This was a time’, Profumo writes, ‘when the family was intent on creating an illusion of harmony.’ A few weeks after John Profumo’s resignation