Clan Duff claims descent from
the royal Scoto-Pictish line through Queen
Gruoch, wife of Macbeth. After the death of the
king, her second husband, her son Luclach was
murdered in 1058. Malcolm III seized the Crown
and his son, Aedh, married Queen Gruoch'
only living granddaughter. He was created Earl of
Fife and hereditary abbot of Abernethy. Fife,
symbolically representing the ancient royal line
of his wife, became the undisputed second man of
the kingdom. He bore on his shield the red lion
rampant and was accorded the right to enthrone
the king of Scots at his coronation.|
In 1306 Duncan Mac Duff, Earl
of Fife, was a minor held by Edward I of England
as his ward, and so his sister, Isabel, Countess
of Buchan, placed the golden circlet upon the
head of Robert the Bruce. For this act, she was
imprisoned in a cage suspended from the walls of
Berwick Castle when she later fell into the hands
of the English army.
The earldom was forfeited in
1336 for treason, and passed into the hands of
Robert Stewart, later Duke of Albany and Regent
of Scotland. In 1404, David Duff received a
charter from Robert III to the lands of Muldavit
in Banffshire. John Duff sold Muldavit in 1626,
but his half-brother, Adam, was a man of ability
who acquired considerable wealth and laid the
foundation for the ultimate prosperity of the
family. His son, Alexander, improved the
s estates in Banffshire, which
further extended by marriage to Helen, the
daughter of Archibald Grant of Ballentomb.
William Duff, MP for the county of Banff, was
created Earl Fife and Viscount Mac Duff in1759.
The new earl'
s claim of descent from the
great Mac Duffs had some merit but has never been
James, the 4th Earl Fife,
fought with distinction during the Peninsular War
of 1808-14 and was honoured for his services with
the Order of the Thistle. The 6th Earl Fife,
married Princess Louise, the Princess Royal,
eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales, the
future King Edward VII. He was advanced to the
highest rank of the peerage as Duke of Fife in
1889. By a special reservation in the patent
creating the dukedom, the title was to pass, in
default of a male heir, to the duke'
daughter, Princess Alexandra, and if she produced
no male heirs, to her sister Princess Maude. In
1923, Princess Maude married Lord Carnegie, who
was later to succeed to his father'
as Earl of Southesk and chief of the Carnegies.
The dukedom of Fife has now passed to the
Carnegie chiefs. The ancient red lion on gold of
Fife is today borne on the shield of Wemyss of
Wemyss, direct descendents of the ancient Mac