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Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife

Sir Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, (10 November 1840-12 January 1912) was a Scottish peer who married Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife, the third child and eldest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Queen Alexandra.

His Grace Sir Alexander William George Duff, KG, KT, GCB, PC, 1st Duke of Fife and Marquess of MacDuff, 1st Duke of Fife and Earl of MacDuff, 6th Earl Fife and Baron Braco, and 2nd Baron Skene was born in Edinburgh, the son of James Duff, 5th Earl of Fife, K.T., and his wife, Lady Agnes Hay, the daughter of William Hay, 17th Earl of Etholl. As the son and heir of the Earl of Fife, he held the courtesy title Viscount MacDuff.

Lord MacDuff attended Eaton from 1863 to 1866 and served as a member of Parliament (MP) for the counties of Mairn and Nairn, Scotland from 1873 to 1879. On 7 August 1879, he succeeded his father as 6th Earl Fife, Viscount MacDuff, and Baron Braco of Kilbryde in the peerage of Ireland and 2nd Baron Skene in the peerage of the United Kingdom. He served as lord lieutentant of the County of Elgin from 1872 to 1902, captain of the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms from 1880 to 1881, and served on a special diplomatic mission to the King of Saxony in 1882. In 1885, Queen Victoria created him 1st Earl of Fife in the peerage of the United Kingdom. He helped found the Chartered Company of South Africa, and served as one of its vice presidents until the 1896 Jameson Raid.

On 27 June 1889, Lord Fife married Her Royal Higness Princess Louise of Wales, the eldest daughter of the then-Prince and Princess of Wales, at the Private Chapel, Buckingham Palace. The wedding marked the second time a descendant of Queen Victoria married a British subject (the first being the marriage of Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise, the Queen's fourth daughter, to John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll). Two days after the wedding, the Queen elevated the Earl of Fife to the further dignity of Duke of Fife and Marquess of MacDuff in the peerage of the United Kingdom.

The marriage of the Duke of Fife and Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, produced three children:

The Duke of Fife received a fresh patent as Duke of Fife and Earl of MacDuff in the peerage of the United Kingdom in April 1900, with special remainder to his daughters by Princess Louise and their male issue. In effect, he held two dukedoms of Fife; the 1887 creation (with the subsidiary marquesite of MacDuff) would become extinct in the absence of a son and the 1900 creation (with the subsidiary earldom of MacDuff) would devolve upon his elder daughter in the absence of a son. In November 1905, his father-in-law, now King Edward VII, bestowed the title Princess Royal on the Duchess of Fife and declared that Lady Alexandra Duff and Lady Maud Duff should henceforth hold the title of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland with the style Highness.

Queen Victoria created the future Duke of Fife a Knight of the Thistle in 1881. He received the Royal Victorian Chain in 1902. His brother-in-law, King George V created him an Extra Knight of the Garter. He was also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath and a Privy Councilor. At the coronation of his father-in-law, Edward VII, in August 1902, and again at the coronation of George V in June 1911, the Duke of Fife acted as Lord High Constable. In addition to his London residence, 15 Portman Square, the Duke owned two estates in Scotland: Mar Lodge, Aberdeenshire and Mountcoffer House, Banff.

In December 1911, while sailing to Egypt, the Princess Royal and her family were shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco. Although they escaped unharmed, the Duke of Fife fell ill with pleurisy, probably contracted as a result of the shipwreck. He died at Assuan, Egypt in January 1912, and his elder daugther, Princess Alexandra, succeeded to his dukedom, becoming the Duchess of Fife and Countess of MacDuff in her own right. The Duke's other titles, including the 1889 creation of the dukedom of Fife, became extinct. The Duke of Fife was buried in the Private Chapel, Mar Lodge Mausoleum, Braemar, Aberdeenshire.

Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Fife Followed by:
Princess Alexandra