David Ogilvy, 13th Earl of Airlie

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The Earl of Airlie
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byThe Lord Maclean
Succeeded byThe Lord Camoys
Personal details
Born (1926-05-17) 17 May 1926 (age 96)
Westminster, London, England
(m. 1952)
Parent(s)David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie
Lady Alexandra Coke
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1945–50
Service number339585
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsSecond World War

David George Coke Patrick Ogilvy, 8th (or 13th) Earl of Airlie, KT, GCVO, PC, JP[1] (born 17 May 1926)[2] is a Scottish peer.

Background and education

Airlie is the eldest son of David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie and Lady Alexandra Coke. His younger brother was Sir Angus Ogilvy, the husband of Princess Alexandra of Kent. He served as a page to his father at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey on 12 May 1937. With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, as of 8 September 2022, he is the last surviving participant of the Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth in 1937.

Born in Westminster, David Ogilvy was educated at Eton and served in the Scots Guards during the Second World War. In 1946, he was appointed ADC to the C-in-C and High Commissioner to Austria. He remained in the army until 1950, when he left to attend the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, to learn more about estate management. He currently maintains two homes on the family's 69,000 acres (280 km2) estate in Angus: Cortachy Castle and Airlie Castle. He also has a home in Chelsea, London.

Merchant banker

He subsequently took up merchant banking, joining J. Henry Schroder in 1953. He was appointed a director of the company in 1961 and chairman of Henry Schroder Wagg & Co in 1973, and then of Schroders plc from 1977.[3] In 1984, Lord Airlie resigned from Schroder to take up the position of Lord Chamberlain,[4] when he was also sworn of the Privy Council and appointed GCVO.

Lord Airlie as Lord Chamberlain initiated changes in the early 1990s under the auspices of “The Way Ahead Group”. Under these plans The Queen agreed to pay tax, greater transparency for the public subsidy of the monarchy began and a greater emphasis on public relations started.[5]

He was made a Knight of the Thistle on 29 November 1985.[6][3] Two years after that he became Chairman of General Accident Fire and Life Assurance plc.

He followed in the footsteps of his late father, who served as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. He remained in the post until 1997.

Lord Airlie has also served as the Lord Lieutenant of Angus in Scotland,[7] and as the Captain General of The Royal Company of Archers and Gold Stick for Scotland. He was also the founding Chancellor of the University of Abertay Dundee (1994–2009).[8] In 1998, he was asked by the Labour government to stay on as a Lord in Waiting for life.

Lord Airlie's ancestral home in Tayside is Cortachy Castle near the ancient burgh of Kirriemuir, Angus. On 13 November 2007 he was asked to be Chancellor of the Order of the Thistle. His wife, the Countess of Airlie, is a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II.[9] His grandmother, Mabell, Countess of Airlie, was a Lady-in-Waiting and subsequently Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Mary.


On 23 October 1952, he married Virginia Ryan. The wedding took place at St Margaret's, Westminster, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.[10]

They have six children:

  • Lady Doune Mabell Ogilvy (b. 13 August 1953); married Sir Hereward Charles Wake, 15th Bt. on 16 April 1977; they had four children, and divorced in July 1995.
  • Lady Jane Fortune Margaret Ogilvy (b. 24 June 1955); married François Nairac on 30 August 1980. The couple have two daughters.
  • David John Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy (b. 9 March 1958); married, firstly, in 1981, Hon. Geraldine Harmsworth, daughter of Vere Harmsworth, 3rd Viscount Rothermere. They had a daughter, Augusta (b. 1981), before divorcing in 1990. Lord Ogilvy married, secondly, in 1991, Tarka Kings, with whom he has three sons; David Huxley, Master of Ogilvy (b. 1991), Joseph (b. 1995) and Michael (b. 1997).
  • Hon. Bruce Patrick Mark Ogilvy (b. 7 April 1959)
  • Lady Elizabeth Clementina Ogilvy (b. 4 June 1965); married Jonathan Baring, with whom she has one son.
  • Hon. Patrick Alexander Ogilvy (b. 24 March 1971)

The numbering of the titles varies, depending on whether the attainted holders of the earldom and their successors are counted or not. He is a recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain.[11] On 13 November 2007, Buckingham Palace announced Lord Airlie was appointed Chancellor of the Order of the Thistle, following the death of the previous Chancellor, the Duke of Buccleuch.[1] Late in 2009, Lord Airlie announced that he and his wife were retiring. His son has considered the future of Cortachy Castle, the family home for more than 500 years. [12]

In popular culture

He was portrayed by actor Douglas Reith in the 2006 film The Queen in his capacity as Lord Chamberlain, planning the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.[13]


Coat of arms of David Ogilvy, 13th Earl of Airlie
Coat of Arms of the Earldom of Airlie.svg
A Coronet of an Earl
A Lady from the waist upwards, affrontée Azure holding a Portcullis Gules
Argent a Lion passant guardant Gules crowned with an Imperial Crown and collared with an open one proper
On either side a Bull Sable, armed and unguled Vert, and gorged with a Garland of Flowers proper
A Fin (To the end)


  1. ^ a b "No. 58510". The London Gazette. 13 November 2007. p. 16433.
  2. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 17 May 2013. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014. the Earl of Airlie, Lord–Lieutenant for Angus, 1989–2001; Lord Chamberlain, 1984–97, 87
  3. ^ a b "The Rt Hon the Earl of Airlie, KT, GCVO, PC". debretts.com. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  4. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent.
  5. ^ "Can Meghan Markle modernise the monarchy?". The Economist. 23 May 2018.
  6. ^ "No. 50336". The London Gazette. 29 November 1985. p. 16956.
  7. ^ "No. 43455". The London Gazette. 6 October 1964. p. 8411.
  8. ^ University of Abertay Dundee website Archived 7 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine, abertay.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  9. ^ "No. 45868". The London Gazette. 2 January 1973. p. 105.
  10. ^ "London Pageantry AKA Queen Mother Attends… 1952". British Pathe.
  11. ^ "No. 54984". The London Gazette. 19 December 1997. p. 14236.
  12. ^ last of the Scottish earls? Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  13. ^ . IMDb https://www.imdb.com/character/ch0084174/?ref_=tt_cl_t9. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links

Court offices
Preceded by Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Angus
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of the Order of the Thistle
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by Earl of Airlie
Heir apparent:
David John Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen Succeeded by