The 18th-in-line to the throne lives a relatively normal life

By Diana Pearl
Updated January 19, 2017 04:19 PM
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When Princess Margaret‘s ex-husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon, died on January 13, his son David Armstrong-Jones inherited his father’s title and became the second Earl of Snowdon.

The Earldom of Snowdon was created for Antony after his wedding to Queen Elizabeth‘s sister Princess Margaret in 1960, and he continued to hold the title after their divorce in 1978. Up until now, David has been styled as Viscount Linley — he even uses the surname “Linley” professionally instead of Armstrong-Jones.

Now the new Earl of Snowdon, who is 18th-in-line to the throne, is about play an even bigger role — and will have the opportunity to take a seat in the House of Lords. But at 55, the new Earl has already crafted a rather impressive resumé that extends far beyond his title. Here are five things to know about the newly minted Earl:

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1. He works in the arts.

Antony was a photographer, and it seems that his son inherited his artistic talent. David studied to be a craftsman in his late teens and early twenties before going on to eventually launch his own bespoke furniture company, David Linley Furniture Ltd, now called LINLEY. The business has been around for more than 25 years. In 2011, David told The Telegraph that his father encouraged this passion from an early age. “I inherited my love of design from my father, the Earl of Snowdon, who was always fascinated by pushing the boundaries of an object – working out how to make it touch the ground in two places rather than three,” he said. “I was pretty bad at making things as a child but he was an excellent teacher.”

In 2006, David was appointed the chairman of Christie’s U.K., an auction house. He still holds the role today. His sister, Lady Sarah Chatto, is also creatively inclined: She’s a professional painter.

2. He married an aristocrat.

David didn’t have to look far beyond his familiar circle to find his wife: He married the Honorable Serena Stanhope, the daughter of who is now the Earl of Harrington, in October 1993. Together, the couple have two children: Charles, 17, and Margarita, 14. Margarita served as one of the bridesmaids at Prince William and Princess Kate’s 2011 wedding. Serena previously ran a chain of shops called Serena Linley Provence, which sold lavender-scented soaps, candles and perfumes. The store closed in 2014. They also have two dogs named Shaggy and Smudge.

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3. He spent much of his early years at Buckingham Palace.

When your aunt is the Queen of England, that means Buckingham Palace is pretty much your playground — or at least, your classroom. Just a year younger than the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew, the two royal cousins were educated alongside one another in the palace during their early childhood.

4. He has a passion for antiquing — which he inherited from his mother!

Though his father set him on his career path in furniture making, his mother, Princess Margaret, influenced him, too. He has said that his mother “first invented the word ‘antiquing,’ ” and would take him and his sister, Sarah, to antique shops as a child — a tradition he now carries on with his own children.

With his sister, Lady Sarah Chatto, in 2016
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5. His life today is remarkably ordinary (for a royal!).

He told The Telegraph bikes to work in London every day, and spends many weekends at his country home — “a tiny cottage” in Gloucester, England. He celebrates his birthday with a dinner surrounded by friends, and likes to go to the Royal Opera House with his sister, Sarah. And most of all, he spends time with his family. “I devote Sundays to Serena and the children,” he told The Telegraph. “It’s great to have a day to be quiet and reflect and to laugh together.”