The Virgin's Baby: The Battle of the Ampthill Succession

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This is an irresistible record of a glamorous social scandal. In 1921 the Hon Mrs Christabel Russell, a famously spirited society beauty and the wife of the heir to Lord Ampthill, became pregnant while still a virgin, and gave birth to a son. Her virtue being challenged, she was medically examined by doctors and declared to be virgo intacta, despite her marriage. The resultant court case, in which the husband tried to repudiate paternity and sued for divorce, was eventually won by the lady. Meanwhile the entire nation had gorged for months on salacious speculations and sexual detail from the newspapers and the lawyers, all discussing the question of how she could have become pregnant. Queues of those seeking entry to the courts formed the length of the Strand, bets were laid, and King George V outraged.