Palace remains silent as two men are charged over alleged royal blackmail plot

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The Independent Online

Two men are to appear in court on 20 December charged with blackmailing a member of the Royal Family.

The anonymous royal is said to have called in Scotland Yard detectives after being allegedly blackmailed by men with a video of a sex act. Reporting restrictions are in place to prevent the detection of the Royal Family member, who was reportedly asked for £50,000 to prevent the video being shown. It is understood that the royal concerned is not a high-profile figure.

A police sting ensured that the video, which allegedly showed the royal receiving oral sex, was seized from the blackmailers. According to The Sunday Times, one of the blackmailers also claimed that an aide was in possession of an envelope of cocaine supplied by the anonymous royal.

The alleged blackmailers first made contact with the royal household on 2 August, when they claimed to have evidence that the Royal Family member had supplied cocaine to one of their aides. They are also believed to have told the household of a video of the aide giving oral sex to the royal.

In further phone conversations, it is alleged to have emerged that the men had a further video of the royal aide snorting cocaine. The Sunday Times source described how the blackmailer left a mobile number to be contacted on, after which it is alleged a senior legal adviser agreed that he would see the tape before paying the cash. At the same time, the Metropolitan Police were tipped off and asked to intervene.

In a covert operation, an undercover detective posed as an aide and met the two blackmailers in the London Hilton hotel in Park Lane. The meeting was filmed secretly by officers in an adjacent room. It is alleged that some of the video was seen before detectives stepped in to seize the tape and arrest the men.

Scotland Yard issued a statement saying: "A 30-year-old man and a 40-year-old man appeared at City of Westminster magistrates' court on 13 September, each charged with one count of blackmail. Both have been remanded in custody to reappear at the Old Bailey on 20 December."

The spokesperson also said the magistrates hearing was held in camera, meaning that the public was not allowed to attend.

If there is a conviction, this would be the first extortion attempt on a member of the Royal Family in more than 100 years. The last time a royal was a victim of blackmail was in 1891, when Edward VII testified against a slander accusation arising from a card game.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.