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Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel (born 18 August 1942)[2] is the first person to have won one million pounds on the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. She has appeared on the BBC Two quiz show Eggheads since 2003.

Judith Keppel
Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel

(1942-08-18) 18 August 1942 (age 77)
Known forFirst winner of the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2000
Desmond Leon Corcoran
(m. 1964; div. 1980)

Neil Shand
(m. 1985; separated 1987)
ChildrenSibylla, Alexander, and Rosie
Parent(s)Walter Arnold Crispin Keppel (father)
RelativesArnold Keppel, 8th Earl of Albemarle (great-grandfather)
Walter, 9th Earl of Albemarle (grandfather)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (third cousin)


Personal lifeEdit

Keppel's father Hon Walter Arnold Crispian Keppel (1914–1996) was a lieutenant commander in the Fleet Air Arm, who moved with the family to various naval postings around the UK until they settled in London when she was seventeen. She sat A-Levels at St Mary's School, Wantage,[3] and completed a secretarial course, and married her first husband Desmond Corcoran, an art dealer. The couple went on to have three children, Sibylla, Alexander, and Rosie, but divorced in 1980. In 1985, she married comedy scriptwriter Neil Shand. They separated in 1987.[4]

Keppel is the granddaughter of Walter, 9th Earl of Albemarle. Her great-grandfather, the 8th Earl, was elder brother to George Keppel and brother-in-law of Alice Keppel (the mistress of King Edward VII), and the great-great uncle of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.[5] The Duchess of Cornwall is therefore her third cousin. Through the noble lineage of her aforementioned grandfather, her ancestry can be traced back to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, who were the subjects of her one million-pound question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?Edit

£1 million (15 of 15)
Which King was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?
• A: Henry I • B: Henry II
• C: Richard I • D: Henry V
Keppel's £1 million question

Keppel appeared on the 20 November 2000 episode of the UK edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, becoming the 12th winner in the world and the first in the UK to win one million pounds. At the time, she was a garden designer living in Fulham and was "struggling for money".[6] Nonetheless, she had spent about £100 phoning the quiz show more than 50 times to secure a place. "BT rang me up and said, 'Do you realise your telephone bills are rising?'"[7]

There was speculation at the time that the win was leaked to the press so that ITV would draw ratings away from BBC One which was showing the last episode of One Foot in the Grave in the same timeslot. However, the Independent Television Commission cleared Celador and ITV of the allegations.[8]

Keppel now appears on the BBC Two quiz show Eggheads, where she and eight other quiz champions (five at a time) are pitted against five members of the public.


  1. ^ 'West Midlands' county did not exist prior to 1 April 1974. 'Staffordshire' is correct
  2. ^ Charles Mosley (ed.), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (London: Burke's Peerage, 1999)
  3. ^ (subscription required)
  4. ^ Woods, Judith (4 August 2001). "Thank God, I don't have to move to France". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  5. ^ Sir William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle
  6. ^ "My secret to winning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Being single". Daily Telegraph. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Cool, calm, and collector of quiz show's first million :But first the adverts as viewers wait for response to the final question". Herald Scotland. 21 November 2000. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Millionaire? cleared of ratings 'fix'". BBC News. 15 January 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2007.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
First winner
Top prize winner on
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK)

20 November 2000
Succeeded by
David Edwards