Simon Ramsay, 16th Earl of Dalhousie

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Simon Ramsay, 16th Earl of Dalhousie, KT, GCVO, GBE, MC, DL (17 October 1914 – 15 July 1999), styled The Honourable Simon Ramsay between 1928 and 1950, was a British land owner, Conservative politician and colonial governor.

Background and education[edit]

Ramsay was the second son of Arthur Ramsay, 14th Earl of Dalhousie and Lady Mary Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, sixth daughter of Gilbert Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 1st Earl of Ancaster.[1] He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He served in the Black Watch during the Second World War, gaining the rank of Major, and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery during the Allied invasion of Sicily. In 1950 he inherited the title after his older brother John Gilbert Ramsay, the 15th Earl died without marrying.

Public life[edit]

In 1945, Ramsay was elected as the Unionist Member of Parliament for Forfarshire and served until 1950 when he succeeded as Earl of Dalhousie and Chief of Clan Ramsay on the death of his brother. Between 1946 to 1948 he served as a Conservative whip. He was appointed Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1957, and served until 1963 when the federation broke up, with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland becoming independent Zambia and Malawi respectively while Southern Rhodesia returned to its status as a self-governing colony. He refused to renew his commission with the Colonial Service after being forced to read the controversial 1963 speech from the throne prepared by Sir Roy Welensky who was highly critical of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's policies to gradually end White rule in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Shortly after he left politics altogether and retired to his estate. Ironically, he disliked politics and never made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, only taking his place in 1978.[2]

In 1953, Dalhousie was awarded an honorary degree by Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, which had been founded in 1818 by the 9th Earl. He served as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1965-1992), Lord-Lieutenant of Angus (1967–1989) and Chancellor of the University of Dundee (1977–1992), with the institution naming a significant building after him in September 2008.[3] He was a Lieutenant of the Royal Company of Archers, the monarch's bodyguard in Scotland and was created a Knight of the Order of the Thistle by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971.


Lord Dalhousie married Margaret Stirling of Keir (died 1997), daughter of Brigadier-General Archibald Stirling of Keir, a Member of Parliament, and a granddaughter maternally of the 13th Lord Lovat, in June 1940. They had three sons and two daughters. His third child and eldest son James inherited the title upon his death.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Thomas Shaw
Member of Parliament for Forfar
Constituency abolished
Court offices
Preceded by
The 12th Earl of Airlie
Lord Chamberlain to The Queen Mother
Succeeded by
The Earl of Crawford
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The 12th Earl of Airlie
Lord Lieutenant of Angus
Succeeded by
The 13th Earl of Airlie
Academic offices
Preceded by
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Chancellor of the University of Dundee
Succeeded by
James Black
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Gilbert Ramsay
Earl of Dalhousie
Succeeded by
James Ramsay