Lord Macdonald of Macdonald

 

The Right Honourable Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald,
8th Lord Macdonald, Chief of the Name and Arms of Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald and
34th Hereditary Chief of Clan Donald

Lord Macdonald was born on 28th November 1947, on the Isle of Skye, the same year that Lord Lyon, King of Arms, granted the undifferenced arms of Macdonald of Macdonald to his father, Alexander Godfrey, thereby recognising him as High Chief of Clan Donald. As High Chief, Lord Macdonald chairs the High Council of Clan Donald, composed, at the moment, of the Chiefs of Clanranald, Glengarry, Sleat, and Antrim.

Lord Macdonald, like many of his ancestors, was educated at Eton, where he was a contemporary of Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat. In 1970, the year after he married Claire, his father, born in 1909, died suddenly. This necessitated Lord Macdonald to cut short his developing career as a Chartered Accountant in Edinburgh and return to Skye to take charge of the family’s estate, comprising some 45,000 acres. Because of Death Duties on two inheritances, and other honourable debts, some dating back to 1800, it became obvious that a major reconstruction of the entire estate had to be undertaken.

To formally unite Clan Donald, the High Council of Clan Donald was brought into being in 1971. With the wise counsel of Sir Ian Moncrieffe of that Ilk, Albany Herald and an advocate, ably assisted by Donald J Macdonald of Castleton, the renowned and respected author and historian, the first act of the High Council was to form a charitable trust, to be known as The Clan Donald Lands Trust. This would enable the Trust to purchase the bulk of the Macdonald Estates, and thereby enable Lord Macdonald to settle all outstanding debt, and allow Clan Donald to become owners of a large area of the once mighty Lordship of the Isles, to be held in perpetuity for the benefit of all clansfolk worldwide.

An international fund-raising effort, spearheaded by Lord and Lady Macdonald, provided sufficient funds to allow the Trust to purchase the estate with help from The Royal Bank of Scotland. However, for the Trust to be able to own the land outright, it required a sale of half the initial holding, which, thanks to a dramatic increase in land values, has allowed The Clan Donald Lands Trust to retain 20,000 acres.

Lord Macdonald is married to Dr Claire Macdonald of Macdonald OBE, The Lady Macdonald of Macdonald, an internationally famous writer, journalist, cook and cookery demonstrator. She was born in Lancashire, where her family had lived for many generations. Lord and Lady Macdonald reside in Skye and on the Black Isle, north of Inverness.

Lord and Lady Macdonald have four children. Alexandra, the eldest, is married to Baron Guttenberg, and lives on the family estate in Bavaria with their children, Johannes, Felix and Antonia. Isabella lives on Skye, with her two boys Billy and Luke, and now looks after Kinloch Lodge, one of the family’s ancestral homes, which for nearly fifty years, Lord and Lady Macdonald have run as a small internationally acclaimed hotel. Meriel, their youngest daughter is married to Peter Strang Steel, and lives near Haddington, south of Edinburgh, with their children Milo and Kitty.

Lord Macdonald has a sister, The Hon Janet Anne Macdonald of Macdonald, and a brother, The Hon Alexander Donald Archibald Macdonald of Macdonald.

Lord and Lady Macdonald play an active part in the life of their local communities. They are both national patrons of Marie Curie Care, and companions of The Order of Malta. Lord Macdonald was for many years involved in all aspects of local government, was vice convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and Chairman of The Skye Gathering. He is a Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant for Ross Cromarty and Skye.

Heir Apparent

Lord Macdonald’s heir is The Hon Godfrey Evan Hugo Macdonald of Macdonald. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, where he graduated with a first-class honours degree. In December 2019 he married James Stevens, and pursues a career as a journalist and design consultant, which takes him all over the world. They currently live in Hastings but return to Skye whenever time permits.