Two men will appear at the Old Bailey next month charged with attempting to blackmail a minor member of the Royal Family.

Ian Starchan, 30, and Sean McGuigan, 40, were arrested last month after police mounted a sting operation.

They are alleged to have demanded £50,000 not to release a video showing a member of the Royal Family engaged in oral sex with an aide.

They also claimed that the Royal supplied the aide with cocaine.

This morning the story was reported as a “gay-sex-and-drugs blackmail plot” by The Times.

The pair were arrested after a police officer, posing as another Royal aide, attended a meeting with them at a Hilton hotel in London.

They appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on September 13th charged with one count of blackmail.

The hearing was held in secret, and the judge issued an order banning any report that could identify the victims or witnesses.

It is believed that the Crown Prosecution Service asked that the hearing be held in camera, without the press or the public present.

Since The Sunday Times broke the story yesterday there has been widespread speculation as to the identity of the Royal Family member who is the victim of the alleged blackmail.

It is thought that as the alleged blackmailers asked for a relatively small sum, their target was a minor member of the Royal Family.

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the alleged blackmail plot, saying only that it is a matter for the police.

The alleged blackmailers first made contact with the Royal Household on August 2nd, claiming to have videotaped evidence of an aide snorting cocaine and performing oral sex on a member of the Royal Family.

The Times reports that a senior legal adviser to the Royal Household contacted the alleged blackmailers and arranged to meet and view the tape.

Scotland Yard was alerted and detectives set up a sting operation at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.

The September 11th meeting was recorded by officers in an adjacent room as the alleged blackmailers showed a detective posing as a Royal aide the video.

They were then arrested.

At Westminster Magistrates Court on September 13th Starchan and McGuigan were remanded in custody until their trail on December 20th.

Strachan will appear before a judge this week asking for bail. The hearing will be held in private.