Sir Leigh Teabing is one of the key characters in The Da Vinci Code, the novel by Dan Brown recently interpreted as a movie.
In the book, Sir Leigh is a historian, an English knight, suffering from the effects of polio. In the book he’s described as follows:
“Portly and ruby-faced, Sir Leigh Teabing had bushy red hair and jovial hazel eyes that seemed to twinkle as he spoke. Despite the aluminium braces on his legs, he carried himself with a resilient, vertical dignity that seemed more a by-product of noble ancestry than any kind of conscious effort.”
In the movie Sir Leigh Teabing is played by Ian McKellen, who couldn’t be described as portly.
Leigh is an obvious reference to author Richard Leigh. Teabing is an anagram of Baigent, the last name of Leigh’s co-author Michael Baigent.
Leigh and Baigent, together with Henry Lincoln, wrote “Holy Blood and Holy Grail”, a book speculating on theories associated with the Priory of Sion hoax. In the television documentaries preceding the book, and in the book itself, the three authors speculated that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had one or more children. They proposed that the children of Jesus and Mary Magdalene settled in northern France and established what came to be known as the Merovingian Dynasty. The Priory of Sion supposedly was established to protect the secret of their existence.
Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln founded much of their work on the proposal put forward by Pierre Plantard. Plantard developed a conspiracy theory around the revelation in the 1950s that the town of Rennes-le-Chateau had been bankrolled by a mysterious priest called Bérenger Saunière.
The obvious references to the names and work of Leigh and Baigent in The Da Vinci Code are what led to the recent court case between them and author Dan Brown.