Many wondered if he would turn up in Moscow – but unlike the other members of the Cambridge Spy Ring, he chose not to defect to Russia. Several were members of the Cambridge Apostles, a secret society which was (at the time) dedicated to Marxism, and Blunt himself visited the Soviet Union in 1933. Each of the Cambridge Five pursued careers that put them at the heart of the establishment, enabling them to pass large amounts of intelligence to the Soviet Union. Blunt would hold a single press conference, and then do his best to fade into the background. Thanks! Queen Elizabeth II with Anthony Blunt in 1959 'I'm sure the Queen Mother was kept out of the loop when MI5 finally got Blunt to privately admit his guilt in 1964,' says a frequent royal houseguest. He only succeeded in drawing attention to himself. “I was persuaded by Guy Burgess that I could best serve the cause of antifascism by joining him in his work for the Russians,” Blunt said in a later interview. He wasn’t publicly revealed as a spy until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher revealed he had been such. You can unsubscribe at any time. According to The New York Times, he described how he started spying for the Soviets in the 1930s and called it “the biggest mistake of my life.” He was actively involved in spycraft, even giving the Russians the names of people working secretly for Great Britain. After Sir Anthony Blunt was exposed in 1979, the Queen immediately stripped him of his knighthood. But Blunt managed to ride it out for another 13 years, thanks partly to his friendships with top people in the secret service.
Blunt wrote in his memoirs that he was influenced by Burgess, according to The Independent, which quoted him as writing, “I was thus faced with the most important decision of my life.
The five men were Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess (who defected to the Soviet Union in 1951), Kim Philby (who defected in 1963 after years of suspicion), John Cairncross (the last to be discovered), and Anthony Blunt. Suspicions were first raised in 1951, when Blunt’s friend Burgess fled to the Soviet Union with Maclean; had he shared their sympathies? Sir Anthony Blunt was a spy in the Queen’s household, and, yes, the story is true. According to a later statement by Margaret Thatcher, the Security Service was suspicious of Blunt after 1951, carrying out “an intensive and prolonged investigation of his activities” and interviewing him “on 11 occasions.” However, they still didn’t have any real evidence against him. Donald Maclean was under suspicion in 1951, and as they narrowed in on him, it became clear that he needed to escape. It did not, however, provide a basis on which charges could be brought.” Instead, the authorities decided that “the public interest” lay in trying to secure a confession from Blunt and “obtain information from him about any others who might still be a danger.”. Andrew Lownie, author of Stalin's Englishmen, counters this claim. The Queen, it seems, allowed Blunt to continue as Keeper of the Queen's Pictures despite knowing of … Attorney-general Sir John Hobson and MI5 also agreed that his spying career would be kept secret from the public. Truth behind The Crown. Anthony Blunt appears first as a courteous and knowledgeable professional, well-liked even by Queen Elizabeth, who readily admits her limited understanding of his chosen field.
The diaries of Guy Liddell, Deputy Director of MI5, suggest the Queen mother was already suspicious, and in 1951 he had to reassure her via King George VI’s private secretary Tommy Lascelles (Pip Torrens in The Crown) that he was sure Blunt wasn’t a spy. Like many of The Crown's storylines, this improbable ordeal is based in fact. In the first episode of the new season, which streamed on Netflix on November 17, 2019, Queen Elizabeth II (played now by Olivia Colman) grows suspicious that Prime Minister Harold Wilson is a mole. This was not entirely true. Blunt then agreed to speak with a select few journalists, including BBC Television’s Christopher Morris, who (in a reflection of the times) asked if his “homosexual leanings” had been the “leverage that made you join as a Russian spy.”.
latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff, The Real-Life Stamps Featuring Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth's Hair Is Deceptively Complicated, Queen Elizabeth's Bentley is Up for Auction, Remembering Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Day, The Story Behind Queen Elizabeth's Scarab Brooch. But he also distanced himself from the KGB as he built his career as an art historian. In 1939, war broke out and he joined the British Army; the following year he was recruited to MI5, where he was tasked with keeping neutral missions in London under close surveillance. Anthony Blunt, the fourth member of the notorious Cambridge Soviet spy ring, was a distant cousin of the Queen Mother and later became Surveyor of the King's pictures. “I was convinced he had never been a communist in the fullest political sense, even during his days at Cambridge. Inside sources leaked the story to an author and former military intelligence agent called Andrew Boyle, and in 1979 he published an explosive book titled Climate of Treason. During the war one was simply thinking of them as Allies et cetera, but then with the information about the camps... it was episodes of that kind.". However, the publication reports that few were allowed in on the secret outside of Queen Elizabeth II. Philip confronts Blunt only to be met with blackmail over the Profumo affair, the Russian spy sex scandal that had toppled a conservative prime minister. Over the decades, Blunt became disillusioned with communism and the U.S.S.R. At his sole press conference in 1979, he would eventually say, "This was a gradual process and I find it very difficult to analyze. They did, however, continue to see each other at events; she came to the opening of the Courtauld Institute's new galleries in 1968, and would congratulate him on his retirement in 1972. By the end of the episode, MI5’s director douses the Queen’s suspicions about Wilson, saying that, although there were clearly attempts by the KGB to recruit Wilson while he was on trade missions to that country, the evidence was weak that they succeeded. Blunt would guide the Courtauld in the transition from fledgling academy to well-respected institution. Blunt remains one of Britain's most notorious double agents. Blunt said in his memoirs that he was a tutor at Trinity College when he was recruited by the NKVD, which later became the KGB.
It’s true, Daily Mail reports, that MI5 confronted Blunt in 1964 and he confessed to being a KGB spy. However, it then turns out that there’s a different mole, this one in Buckingham Palace no less. However, was the Blunt story true? (This being despite the U.S.S.R.'s own regressive ideas about sexuality.).
They became diplomats, BBC correspondents, MI6 and MI5 agents, Foreign Office workers, and – in Blunt’s case – a top art historian and curator of the Queen’s art collection.
“Tommy said that he was glad to hear this, since it was quite possible that the story might get around to the royal family; he would then be able to say that he had already heard it and looked into it and was satisfied that there was nothing in it. Save up to £497* a year -Compare Lots of Deals - Switch in Minutes. I might have joined the Communist Party, but Guy, who was an extraordinarily persuasive person, convinced me that I could do more good by joining him in his work. And then, rather quickly, we're hit with the real story. He was part of a spy ring known as the Cambridge Five.
Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. Already have an account with us? In order to reassure him, Guy Burgess agreed to travel part of the way with him. In that role, he maintained the paintings in the Royal Collection. Later, he was discovered as a Russian spy. Daily Mail reports that Blunt died four years after being exposed.
Thatcher later told the House of Commons that “early in 1964 new information was received which directly implicated Blunt. Burgess was a famously larger-than-life character, often painted as a bumbling, amiable drunkard with a large sexual appetite. But it was the information that came out immediately after the war. He would pass all of this information along to the Soviets. In her biography, Anthony Blunt: His Lives, Miranda Carter quotes Blunt's description of his fellow academics in January 1934, upon returning from abroad: "[I] found that the intellectuals whom I had known before I went away were all coming the influence of Communism." Here’s what you need to know about the true story behind the Netflix drama: Anthony Blunt (1907-1983) was a highly-respected art historian and member of the Royal Household who was unmasked as a Soviet spy.
In addition to the "deciphered diplomatic telegrams, the diplomatic telephone conversations, and the product of various agents in the embassies" that he got in "the ordinary course" of his job, Blunt managed to put himself in a position to do "a good deal of liaison with other departments," Blunt wrote, per Carter. News, photos, videos and full episode guide, Was the Queen’s art adviser Anthony Blunt really a Soviet spy? Inside Margaret’s affair with Roddy Llewellyn and the collapse of her marriage, “I had nightmares for years”: The real-life story behind The Crown’s Aberfan episode, as told by the survivors, The story of Philip’s mother – and her extraordinary life, The real story behind the 1969 Royal Family documentary, the (heavily redacted) FBI file on Anthony Blunt. But everything changed after 1963, when American citizen Michael Straight pointed the finger at Anthony Blunt. Instead, he was hiding out at home in London with his long-term partner John Gaskin, lying low with the lights off until his friend and former pupil Brian Sewell was able to smuggle the two of them out. Later, as journalists neared the truth about Blunt, Margaret Thatcher outed him in speech to the House of Commons. Queen Elizabeth was informed at the time—and this big reveal is what's depicted on The Crown. Utterly convinced that any suspicions about Blunt were bogus, MI5 Deputy Director Rod Liddell wrote in his diary: “Anthony telephoned about the press who were still persecuting him. Burgess ended up going all the way with him, though; it's not clear whether Blunt knew he wasn't coming back. Again, it’s not clear whether this conversation happened, but it has a basis in reported events. Sir Anthony Blunt was a spy in the Queen’s household, and, yes, the story is true.. He also gets credit for bringing Blunt over to the Soviet side. "I think, absolutely, that Blunt would never have been recruited if he hadn't been so friendly with Burgess," Lownie says. It describes Blunt’s background. During his distinguished career as an art historian he was director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a professor at the University of London, and a celebrated author of key academic texts.
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