The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Benny Higgins, Executive Chairman of Buccleuch, said: “The Duke of Buccleuch and his family have announced that, very sadly, on Sunday morning the Duchess died after a short illness following an operation.

“The Duchess was the most wonderful, life enhancing spirit and our hearts go out to the family as they come to terms with their loss.”

The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Elizabeth’s family, the Kerrs, are as much a part of the history of the Scottish Borders as her husband’s.

She was the inspirer and founder of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which is one of the leading literary awards in the UK and for which she was a judge. It was her vision that subsequently led to the establishment of the Young Walter Scott Prize and she believed passionately that young people should be encouraged to explore both history and writing.

Educated at the London School of Economics, with a BSc in Sociology, her own interests in the arts started early. The Duchess worked for BBC Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope programme and then, after her marriage in 1981, for the newly established local BBC radio station, Radio Solway, in Dumfriesshire.

The Duchess was involved in many cultural organisations, as Chairman of Scottish Ballet and the Heritage Education Trust, as a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland and subsequently a Trustee of the British Museum.

She leaves her husband, Richard, their four children and eleven grandchildren. There will be a private family funeral service in the Borders and a Service to celebrate her life will be announced in due course.

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