Miss World pageant winner who surrendered crown returns

helen-morgan-miss-worldThirty-seven years ago, Helen Morgan from Wales won the Miss World 1974 title at age 22. Four days later, she was forced to surrender her crown when a tabloid paper ran stories that she was an unmarried mother and that she'd had an affair with a married man.

She was the first Miss World ever to quit, though she denied the allegations. This year, she is returning to watch the competition for the first time since she was exiled.

She says she felt betrayed by the media at the time. "I was very naive. I thought everything you read in the paper was true. That was the biggest shock to me, the way that the media worked. It was a bit of a circus," she tells the Independent. "I was exhausted, and felt physically ill. When something like that happens you'd rather go away for a while, dig a little hole and jump into it."

Lost, she went to speak to the organizers, Eric and Julia Morley. "I went into the Miss World office and we all came to the conclusion that it was better if I quit."

Now, Morgan is a 59-year-old grandmother. She and her husband Ronny Lamb, who she met on a blind date in 1978, have two children: Ben, 25 and Poppy, 23. She does her best to keep her past quiet.

"People always find out in the end. I never ever tell anybody, but my kids have got a big mouth, and so has my husband," she says. "It was a shame what happened, but it happened and I have no regrets. I had no idea Miss World was on until you called. I contacted them and got an email from Julia Morley saying she'd love me to come along. It will be quite interesting to see what it's like now."
Photo/Video credit: Miss World