He was educated at Eton College. In 1943-1946 he served in the Irish Guards, and after World War II he joined Cannon Brewery (1946–1948). In 1948 went to Victoria Wine Ltd, of which he became a director in 1949, and was chairman 1960-1982. He is a Master of Wine.
McGrath also held various directorships, including Grants of St James Ltd 1960 (chairman 1975-1982), Allied Breweries Ltd (now Allied-Lyon Plc) 1970-1982, and Broad Street Securities Ltd (chairman 1983-1991).
In 1982 he joined the Office of the Duke of Edinburgh as Assistant Private Secretary, being promoted to Private Secretary and Treasurer in 1984. In 1992 he ceased to be Private Secretary, and from 1993 to 1995 was Head of the Household. He retired as Treasurer in 1995, and in the following year was appointed Extra Equerry.
- Marrin, Minette (11 June 2007). "Court Circular - Times Online". London: www.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
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