The son of Captain Edmund Moore Cooper Cooper-Key, C.B., M.V.O., of Landford, Hampshire by his wife Florence (née Wigram), Cooper-Key was educated at the Royal Naval College, Osborne, and Dartmouth. He served in the Irish Guards during the Second World War, and alongside his later political career was a governor and committee member of the RNLI and director of Associated Newspapers Ltd, the Aberdeen Investment Trust, and Price Brothers Ltd. He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1960.
On 11 January 1941 he married Hon. Lorna Peggy Vyvyan Harmsworth (24 October 1920 – 18 June 2014), elder daughter of the 2nd Viscount Rothermere. They had two sons and two daughters; the second – but only surviving – son, (Kevin) Esmond Peter (1943–1985), married Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon, third daughter of the 6th Earl Howe, whose daughter by her second husband, property magnate and scion of baronets John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, is the actress Isabella Calthorpe.
He lived at Burnt Wood, Battle, East Sussex.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Neill Cooper-Key
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Hastings