TV historian Mary Beard had to strip down to her “scrappy undies” in front of passengers at airport security.

The boffin, 64, was ordered to remove her tunic and had a little vest but “no bra” underneath.

She had told officials she would be in her underwear and has hit out after her public humiliation — prompting an apology from Heathrow bosses.

She tweeted: “I know rules are rules (and we all depend on airport security) but was a bit surprised to be told to take off what I think is a ‘tunic’ (they thought was a ‘jacket’) at Heathrow security, down to my scrappy undies.

“Much to curiosity/embarrassment of other passengers!”

The scholar, who has written and hosted programmes on the Romans, added: “My little black vest, no bra, not a good look!”

One of her 237,000 followers wrote: “If they want you to remove a thing that isn’t outside wear, they have to take u to a private room. That’s f***ing appalling.” Another quipped: “Wow! I know an ample bosom can hide a multitude of things but i sincerely hope there was no rummaging.”

Heathrow apologised on social media to the Cambridge professor for the “inconvenience” and was looking in to it.


A spokesman also told The Sun: “Our colleagues work incredibly hard to keep Britain’s skies safe and any passenger is able to be searched in private.

“We apologise that this did not happen in this instance.”

But the star, also Royal Academy of Arts Professor of Ancient Literature, said she did not want staff to get into trouble, although “general consciousness-raising” would be good.

She replied: “I am tough, and I have no desire to see the staff concerned told off (so I am carefully not telling you which terminal).

“But maybe some general consciousness-raising on this one would be a jolly good idea!”

The star – Classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement, where she also writes a regular blog, A Don’s Life – added: “To be honest, I’m not very easily humiliated, but it was a surprise! Staff polite but insistent (following instructions, I guess, don’t want to get them into trouble).”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission