Who was Anthony Blunt and what did he do to The Queen? | The Sun

ANTHONY BLUNT was an aristocrat and art curator to the Queen.

In 1964 he admitted had been a Soviet spy, but the story was only revealed years later.

Who was Anthony Blunt?

Anthony Blunt was born in Bournemouth, the son of a vicar.

He was also third cousin of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who would eventually become King George VI's wife — and then the Queen Mum.

When he was a boy, he visited his aristocratic relative’s home in Mayfair, and they later became close friends through a shared love of paintings.

He attended prestigious private school Marlborough College, before going to Cambridge University.

He's believed to have been recruited while studying at the university.

Blunt was already leading a double life because of his homosexuality, which was illegal in Britain at the time.


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He was then recruited by MI5. In one of his missions he's thought to have travelled to Germany in 1945 to retrieve sensitive letters between the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler and other senior Nazis.

His role in sparing the royals from humiliation is said to have endeared him to the Windsors, and that year he was given the respected title of Surveyor of the King’s Pictures.

Following the King's death in 1952, Blunt became Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and received a knighthood from The Queen four years later.

Was he a spy?

Blunt was a member of infamous spy ring the Cambridge Five, who were recruited as agents for the Soviet Union in the 1930s.

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The other members of the group were Guy Burgess, who joined the Foreign Office, John Cairncross, who worked for British secret services, and Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, both of whom went into diplomacy.

Within the secret services, some had always suspected that Blunt was a Russian asset.

He was interviewed by investigators 11 times, but didn't have any real evidence against him.

But in 1963 US spy Michael Straight – who had known Blunt at Cambridge – exposed him.

A year later, Blunt, then aged 57, confessed and it's believed the Queen was informed.

He was granted immunity from prosecution in return for his confession, and remained in his job until he retired in 1972.

The extraordinary story was revealed to the world in 1979 by the then newly-elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who stripped him ofhis knighthood.

Thatcher's press secretary, Bernard Ingham, recalled: “She didn’t see why the system should cover things up.

"This was early in her prime ministership and she wanted to tell the civil service to know who was boss.”

Blunt became a social pariah in later life, and broke down in a TV confession at the age of 72.

He died aged 75 of a heart attack in 1983, with his reputation in tatters.

What as The Queen said about him?

For years, the phrase "never complain, never explain", has been used to characterise the royal family's approach public relations.

As you might expect, the Queen hasn't said anything publicly about the disgraced spy.

After Blunt was found out in 1963, not only did The Queen keep his deception quiet, she had to watch him continue in his job for nine years until his retirement.

It's believed that the secret services felt it was better to keep Blunt where they could see him, and feared the embarrassment of admitting they'd let a spy operate from inside the Palace.

Robert Lacey, a historian that advised Netflix show the Crown, believes the Queen only protected Blunt under extreme pressure.

He added: “I also think there was a hope on the part of the intelligence services that they could get something extra out of Blunt or get something back from the Russians somehow.”

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But he said: “The Queen has a strong sense of patriotism and would have felt deeply betrayed and terribly hurt by Blunt.

"She would have been horrified but also bewildered how somebody could do this.

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