Alexander 1st Duke of Fife Signed Letter Discussing Cecil Rhodes & Earl Grey who Intrigue

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Fine signed part letter, undated, but circa 1880,  from Alexander William George Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, (1849-1912), styled Viscount Macduff between 1857 and 1879 and known as The Earl Fife between 1879 and 1889, to a friend discussing a lunch with Queen Victoria and the local elections when Rutherford Harris was elected MP for Monmouth, whom he compares to Cecil Rhodes and Albert Grey 4th Earl Grey who have "all lied and intrigued together". Written on his home stationery for Mar Lodge embossed with his cypher surmounted by a coronet.

"The Milners are coming to luncheon today from Glenmuick. We are going to lunch tomorrow with V.R.I. I have to attend a Privy Council on Thursday next the 18th, when I suppose Parliament will be prorogued until the usual time or near then.

I hope that you wrote to Hodge and pointed out to him that this was hardly the moment to sneer at the man who has won the elections! [Probably Gladstone]

Best love from all

Your ever affecty


I am sending you this evening the stuff for Lady Alice.

I am amused to see that that scamp Rutherford Harris has been elected; won a seat for the xxx.

After all I do not suppose if you go carefully with matter - that he is any worse than Rhodes or Maguire or even Albert Grey. They all lied and intrigued together."

He was a British peer who married Princess Louise, the third child and eldest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Queen Alexandra.

Fife was born in Edinburgh, the son of James Duff (a grandson of the 3rd Earl Fife and heir presumptive to his uncle, the 4th Earl Fife) and his wife, the former Lady Agnes Hay, second daughter of the 18th Earl of Erroll and the former Lady Elizabeth FitzClarence (an illegitimate daughter of William IV). When his father succeeded as 5th Earl Fife in 1857, he acquired the courtesy title Viscount Macduff. He attended Eton from 1863 to 1866.

Fife served as Member of Parliament for the Elginshire and Nairnshire constituency, in Scotland, from 1874 to 1879. On 7 August 1879, he succeeded his father as 6th Earl Fife in the Peerage of Ireland (and as 2nd Baron Skene in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which title gave him a seat in the House of Lords). He served under William Ewart Gladstone as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms from 1880 to 1881, and served on a special diplomatic mission to the King of Saxony in 1882. He was also Lord-Lieutenant Elginshire from 1872 to 1902, and Lord Lieutenant of the County of London from February 1900 until his death in 1912. In 1885, Queen Victoria created him 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 Saturday 27 July 1889, Lord Fife married Princess Louise, the eldest daughter of the then-Prince and Princess of Wales, at the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace. The couple were third cousins in descent from George III. The wedding marked the second time a descendant of Queen Victoria married a British subject (the first being the marriage of The Princess Louise, the Queen's fourth daughter, to the Duke of Argyll). Two days after the wedding, the Queen elevated Lord Fife to the further dignity of Duke of Fife and Marquess of Macduff, in the County of Banff, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The marriage of the Duke of Fife and Princess Louise produced three children.

In December 1911, while sailing to Egypt on the SS Delhi, the Duke and his family were shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco. They spent some time in the water before being rescued and then had to walk 4 miles to accommodation. Although they escaped unharmed, the Duke fell ill with pleurisy, probably contracted as a result of the shipwreck.

He died at  Aswan in Egypt on 29th January 1912, and his elder daughter, Princess Alexandra, succeeded to the 1900 dukedom, becoming Duchess of Fife and Countess of Macduff in her own right. The Duke's other titles, including the 1889 Dukedom, became extinct.

The Duke's body was repatriated to the United Kingdom on ship, in a lead coffin. It rested in the Royal Vault below St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle from 28 February 1912 until 6 August 1912, when it was transferred to Scotland for burial in the Private Chapel, Mar Lodge, Braemar, Aberdeenshire.

Mar Lodge is a sporting lodge five miles to the west of Braemar and the principal building on the Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was built in 1895, replacing an earlier building, by Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife.

Size: 18 x 11.5 cm approx

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