David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon

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The Earl of Snowdon
Viscount Linley (2nd crop) Trooping the Colour Saturday June 16th 2007.jpg
Armstrong-Jones in 2007
Born David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones
(1961-11-03) 3 November 1961 (age 56)
Clarence House, London
Title Earl of Snowdon
Spouse(s) The Hon. Serena Stanhope
Occupation Furniture maker

David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon (born 3 November 1961), styled as Viscount Linley until 2017 and known professionally as David Linley, is an English furniture maker and the former chairman of the auction house Christie's UK.[1] The son of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, he is a grandson of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. As of 20 May 2018 he is 19th in the line of succession to the British throne, the first in line who is not a descendant of his aunt Queen Elizabeth II; at the time of his birth in 1961 he was fifth.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Snowdon was baptized on 19 December 1961 in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace.[3][4][5] His godparents are: Queen Elizabeth II,[3][6] Lady Elizabeth Cavendish,[3][7] Patrick Plunket, 7th Baron Plunket,[3] Lord Rupert Nevill,[3] and Reverend Simon Phipps[3] who was later Bishop of Lincoln.[8]

At the age of five, Snowdon started lessons in the Buckingham Palace schoolroom with his cousin Prince Andrew.[9] He went to several independent schools: first, to Gibbs Pre-Preparatory School in Kensington in London,[10] followed by the pre-preparatory section of Ashdown House School, East Sussex, then on to Millbrook House School, near Abingdon, in Oxfordshire,[11] and finally to Bedales School, where he developed a passion for arts and crafts. From 1980 to 1982 he studied at Parnham House in the small town of Beaminster in Dorset, for craftsmen in wood.[12]

Snowdon has one full sister, Lady Sarah Chatto (née Armstrong-Jones), and one paternal half-sister, Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal (née Armstrong-Jones). Snowdon also has a half-brother, Jasper Cable-Alexander, son of his father and Melanie Cable-Alexander, an editor at Country Life magazine.

Professional life[edit]

Linley store, Burlington Arcade, London

Snowdon opened a workshop in Dorking, where he designed and made furniture for three years before setting up his own company, David Linley Furniture Limited (now known as Linley), where he makes bespoke furniture, upholstery, and interior design products known for their neoclassical appearance and use of inlaid woods. He has written numerous books and lectured around the world.[13] His work is sold in retail stores in Belgravia, Harrods and overseas including the Bespoke Collection.[14] He borrowed from his company by making loans to a subsidiary company, acquiring some £3 million in debts, a situation eventually resolved by the sale of controlling shares for £4 million in 2012.[15] The consequence, however, is that he is no longer CEO.[16]

On 1 December 2006, Snowdon took up the post of chairman of Christie's UK, having joined the board in 2005 as a non-executive director.[13] In 2015, his position was changed to honorary chairman of Christie's EMERI (Europe, Middle East, Russia, and India).[17]

In the distant past, Snowdon dabbled in the restaurant business. As a young man, he partnered with his friend and cousin Patrick Lichfield to establish a restaurant called Deals in Chelsea, London.[3][18] According to Princess Margaret's biographer, Theo Aronson, Snowdon had a flair for the networking aspect of business and was, therefore, extremely successful in getting people to come through the doors. Within a few years' time, he was already establishing a second restaurant.[3]

Personal life and family[edit]

Snowdon had romances with Susannah Constantine, Kate Menzies, and Nicola Formby. On 8 October 1993, he married the Hon. Serena Alleyne Stanhope (born 1 March 1970, Limerick, Ireland), a daughter of Viscount Petersham (later the 12th Earl of Harrington) and the former Virginia Freeman Jackson, at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. There were 650 guests in attendance, including Elton John, Diana, Princess of Wales, Jerry Hall, the Aga Khan, and ex-King Constantine of Greece.[19] In addition, there were an estimated 5,000 spectators in the streets.[19] The bride's diamond engagement ring and wedding band are from Wartski.[20] She wore a dress designed by Bruce Robbins,[21] noted for its resemblance to Princess Margaret's 1960 Norman Hartnell wedding dress.[22] Her going-away outfit was designed by Robinson Valentine.[23] Through her father, Stanhope descends from Charles II of England's illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton.[24]

Snowdon and his wife have two children:

From 2000 until 2002, Snowdon, his wife and son lived at Kensington Palace with his mother, Princess Margaret, in her declining years.[25] On 8 April 2002, Snowdon, along with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex, stood guard at the lying-in-state of their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[26] This was a mark of respect unofficially known as the Vigil of the Princes, which had taken place only once before, during the lying-in-state of King George V in 1936.

In October/November 2007, rumors circulated on the internet suggesting that a member of the British royal family was the victim of blackmail. The first confirmation that the royal in the extortion attempt was indeed Viscount Linley, as Snowdon was known at the time, came from the journalist Nicholas Davies.[27] Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan tried to exhort £50,000 from Snowdon in September by threatening to release video footage showing sex acts and cocaine use (allegedly by Snowdon and a royal aide) on a mobile phone.[27] Snowdon contacted the police. Strachan and McGuigan were arrested after showing their video footage to an undercover detective.[27] Strachan and McGuigan were sentenced to five years in prison.[28]

In 2011, Snowdon's daughter, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. In 2012, Snowdon's son, now styled by courtesy as Viscount Linley, was appointed by the Queen as a Page of Honour.[29]

The Snowdons have three homes: a flat in Chelsea, London; a cottage on the Daylesford estate in Gloucestershire;[30] and the Chateau d'Autet[31] in the Luberon, Provence.

His father, the 1st Earl of Snowdon, died on 13 January 2017 and he inherited his titles, thus becoming the 2nd Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley.

Published works[edit]



  1. ^ "Viscount Linley Appointed Hon. Chairman of Christie's EMERI". Christie's. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  2. ^ He is the only nephew of Queen Elizabeth II."The Royal Family – Succession". The Royal Family. 17 December 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Aronson, Theo (2013). Princess Margaret: A Biography. Thistle Publishing. 
  4. ^ "Princess Margaret and husband". Getty Images. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  5. ^ de Courcy, Anne. "The Princess and the Photographer". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Royal Godchildren". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  7. ^ Michaels, Ashley (15 November 2017). Sobrinos Reales. ASIN: B077H1HWCB. 
  8. ^ "Obituary: Rt Rev Simon Phipps". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  9. ^ Viscount Linley Publisher: Mandy's Royalty. Org. retrieved 22 May 2013.
  10. ^ Viscount Linley in school uniform, Gibbs School, Kensington, London, 4 October 1968. Publisher: Heritage Images. Com. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  11. ^ Archive - Tuesday, 6 May 2003 - Prep school set to close Publisher:The Oxford Mail. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Architecture: The school that got lost in the woods - Peter Dunn on". 12 January 1994. 
  13. ^ a b "David Linley appointed chairman of Christie's UK" (PDF) (Press release). Christie's. 3 November 2006. 
  14. ^ Schneider, Sara (February 2012). "Northern California Weekend" (PDF). Sunset: 20. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  15. ^ White, Anna. "David Linley loses control of furniture business". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  16. ^ Woods, Judith. "Viscount Linley: 'Sure, I wheel and deal.'". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  17. ^ "Corporate Announcements". Press Archive. Christie's website. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  18. ^ "The Earl of Lichfield (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Green, Michelle. "Windsor Knot". People Magazine. Time Warner. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  20. ^ "British engagement rings". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  21. ^ "Royal wedding dresses through the years". The Telegraph. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "Top 10 Best Royal Wedding Dresses: #6. HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  23. ^ Rumbold, Judy (8 July 2007). "The sainted Valentine". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 1796.
  25. ^ Syal, Rajeev (10 February 2002). "Children spent much of last years with mother". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  26. ^ Bates, Stephen (9 April 2002). "Grandsons hold vigil as public files past". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  27. ^ a b c May, Julia. "Queen's nephew 'victim' of blackmail". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  28. ^ Edwards, Richard. "Royal blackmail plotters jailed for five years". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  29. ^ Walker, Tim. "The Queen turns a page for Viscount Linley's son". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  30. ^ Tyzack, Anna (24 November 2011). "My perfect weekend: David Linley". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  31. ^ Purnell, Sonia (29 June 2003). "My passion for Provence". The Daily Telegraph. London. 

External links[edit]

David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
Born: 3 November 1961
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Mia Tindall
Line of succession to the British throne
19th position
Succeeded by
Viscount Linley
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mr Peter Phillips
The Earl of Snowdon
Succeeded by
The Duke of Gloucester
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Antony Armstrong-Jones
Earl of Snowdon
Viscount Linley