The latest imbroglio into which the royal family has sunk concerns not a minor member, but the favourite nephew of the Australian head of state – David Linley, son of Elizabeth’s sister, the late Princess Margaret, herself no stranger to controversy.

Reports coming across mine and Crikey’s desks leave little doubt that the 47 year old viscount – who is only twelve heartbeats away from being our very own head of state – has become involved in a gay, drug taking episode which although in itself is not unusual for members of the royal family, it is believed to be the first time one of them has been caught with his pants down, figuratively speaking of course, on video tape.

Close relatives of the Queen have been embroiled in bisexual scandals going back to last century. Her uncle, George Duke of Kent (Linley’s great uncle) was a drag queen heroin user and one time lover of Noel Coward’s. Elizabeth’s great uncle, Albert Duke of Cambridge, was caught in a male brothel and died of a syphilis related disease.

Linely’s mother, Margaret, was always the subject of feral press reporting. She was portrayed as spoiled, arrogant, bombastic, all true up to a point but to those of us who knew her she was other things — my memoirs, when completed, will be more specific. Princess Margaret’s life was ruined when she was denied permission to marry the love of her life, Peter Townshend, a World War Two hero who was an equerry to hers and the Queen’s father, King George V1.

Peter was a divorced father of two children which precluded him marrying the Queen’s sister. Margaret gave her family the two finger salute and settled on Anthony Armstrong Jones, a London photographer who had what the media called “history”.  An Asian girlfriend was the least of their worries – his close relationship with a male friend caused the most concern.

On his marriage to Margaret, he became the Earl of Snowdon and the couple embarked on a life which was both royal and Bohemian and ended in disaster. But to their credit, the couple shielded their children, David and Sarah, from the glare of publicity and they had an almost normal upbringing.

Margaret, never one to mince words, once famously remarked that although her children were the nephew and niece of the monarch it didn’t necessarily make them royal. Ouch! David Linley until now has stayed in the background and is a successful furniture designer and very rich.

It’s believed the Queen is “distressed” by the news, which is royal shorthand for what “the hell is happening now?”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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