Meet the Royal in the Sex and Coke Scandal


We can reveal the name of the British royal family member at the centre of the sex and cocaine scandal. It's not Charles, Edward, or even Harry but Viscount David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret, the 12th in line to the throne, according to Radar, the American website devoted to scandal.

His story made headlines in the British papers this month, but UK law prohibited any of them from naming the hard-partying royal. As the tale goes, two men, Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan, demanded  £50,000 from 45-year-old Linley in return for film footage allegedly showing a royal aide talking of gay sex with him. The aide is also allegedly seen on a video tape taking cocaine from an envelope embossed with Linley's name.

After receiving the threat, Linley called the police who arrested the two men in a sting operation at the London Hilton hotel in exclusive Mayfair's Park Lane. The truthfulness of their claims is still unclear.

Linley, whose mother was the queen's sister, the late Princess Margaret, is viewed as one of the few royals to have a successful career. His father is the English fashion photographer Lord Snowdon. Linley - real name David Armstrong-Jones - is the chairman of Christie's auction house and a highly successful furniture maker and interior designer. His clients include Elton John, Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger.

He designed a 60-foot boardroom table for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as several yachts for Arabian clients. He's often in New York generating business for Christie's, though the auction house say they are distinctly nervous at the prospect of his name becoming involved with the scandal.

He married aristocrat Serena Stanhope in 1993 and the pair have two children. In 1990, Linley took the unusual step, for a royal, of suing a British tabloid, the now defunct Today newspaper, over a story accusing him of rowdy behavior in a London pub. He was awarded  £30,000 in damages. Last year it was revealed that William Banks-Blaney, an Irish salesman working in Linley's London furniture store, had broken up the marriage of Gregory Barker, a prominent conservative politician.

Both of Linley's parents were known for their sexually adventurous, high octane partying. Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan were sentenced to five years in prison at the Old Bailey central criminal court for their role in plotting to get money from Linley.

But more controversy surrounds the mother of the Queen's nephew. Robert Brown, 52, was told by three Appeal Court judges last year that he could challenge a High Court ruling which barred him from viewing the wills of Margaret and the Queen Mother.

Opposing the decision, Judge Mark Potter, president of the Family Division, said during a hearing in July that Brown's claim should be struck out as "vexatious and an abuse of process".

The bid to read the wills, he added, was made "solely for the purpose of seeking to establish an imaginary and baseless claim".

Brown argues the wills, which are barred from public inspection by a special exemption for the Royal family, may corroborate his belief that he is Princess Margaret's son.