David Linley could arguably be considered the most successful royal of his generation. Unlike some of his cousins who are expected to perform royal duties, he has created his own successful business, by his own effort, talent, and on his own terms.
David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley of Nymans, was born on November 3, 1961 at Clarence House. His parents were the late Princess Margaret, sister of the Queen, and Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon. He has a younger sister, Lady Sarah Chatto (nee Armstrong-Jones) born in 1964. He also has two half-siblings, Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, born in 1979 and Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander, born in 1998.
He bears a striking resemblance to his father, the renowned photographer who goes by the name Snowdon, and he has taken after him by pursuing an artistic career. Although he and his sister grew up within the shadow of Buckingham Palace, unlike their cousins, they enjoyed comparative freedom from the press and public eye. Princess Margaret said of them: 'my children are not royal, they just happen to have the Queen for an aunt.' David's parents separated in 1976 and after the divorce, custody was given to Princess Margaret. However, both children were on equally good terms with both parents.
At first David was educated, along with his cousins at the schoolroom in Buckingham Palace. He went on to a London day school and then a preparatory school. He did not distinguish himself academically and along with his sister, was then sent to a progressive co-educational school, Bedales in Hampshire. David excelled at school in art and woodworking and he went on to the John Makepeace School for Craftsmen in Dorset. He made his cousin Prince Charles, a dining-room table as a wedding present in 1981. In 1982, he and a partner set up their own cabinet-making business. Within three years he had proved successful enough to open a shop, David Linley Furniture Limited now known as Linley. Today, he is a manufacturer of furniture, upholstery and interior design products. He also opened a restaurant called Deals and within a few years he opened a second restaurant. He has written three books and lectured around the world at various prestigious venues.
In 1993 he married the Honourable Serena Stanhope, daughter of a wealthy landowner. They have two children - the Honourable Charles Armstrong-Jones born in 1999, and the Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones born in 2002.
© Marilyn Braun 2005
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