Clan Duff claims to be of the original Royal Scoto–Pictish line, of which Queen Gruoch, wife of Macbeth, was the senior representative. After the death of the king, her second husband, her son Lulach was murdered in 1058. Malcolm III seized the Crown and his son, Aedh, married Queen Gruoch’s 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 three distinct privileges: to lead the vanguard of the Scottish army; to enthrone the king of Scots at his coronation; and the right of sanctuary for all his kinsmen, even for the crime of murder, if they reached the cross near Abernethy, after which a small fine would be levied instead of more severe penalties. Gille-michael MacDuf was one of the witnesses to the great charter of David I to the Abbey of Dunfermline. At the coronation of Robert the Bruce in 1306 Duncan Macduff, 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 king’s head. For this heinous crime, she was imprisoned in a cage suspended from the walls of Berwick Castle when she later fell into the hands of King Edward’s army. Duncan married Mary Monthermer, niece to Edward I, and he threw in his lot with his uncle against the Bruce. He was captured and held in Kil-drummy Castle in Aberdeenshire where he died in 1336. The earldom passed into the hands of Robert Stewart, later Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland. The family had lost their great rank but they continued to prosper, and 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 family’s estates in Banffshire, which he further extended by marriage to Helen, the daughter of Archibald Grant of Ballentomb. A Fife title returned to the family when William Duff, MP for the county of Banff, was created Earl Fife and Viscount Macduff in 1759. He commissioned the building of the splendid Duff House in 1740 which cost over £70,000 to complete, a staggering sum for the time. Sadly, he quarrelled with the architect, and when some structural defects became apparent he abandoned the house and never lived in it again. The house has recently been fully restored and is now open to the public. James, the fourth Earl Fife, fought with distinction during the Peninsular War of 1808–14, being granted the rank of major general. He was wounded at the Battle of Talavera and was made a Knight of the Order of St Ferdinand of Spain. His country honoured his services when he was appointed to the Order of the Thistle. The ancient lineage of the Macduffs received another infusion of the blood royal when Alexander, the sixth Earl Fife, married HRH 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 July 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’s eldest 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’s title as Earl of Southesk and chief of the Carnegies. The Countess of Southesk in due course did inherit the dukedom, which passed on her death to her son, James Carnegie, third Duke of Fife. This created the remarkable situation that the heir to the earldom of Southesk and the chiefship of Clan Carnegie also bore the ancient title of Macduff and outranked his own father by two steps in the peerage. The duke has since succeeded to his father’s earldom and chiefship.