Captain Alexander Ramsay of Mar, Queen's cousin and Highland laird; born December 21, 1919, died December 20, 2000

CAPTAIN Alexander Ramsay of Mar was one of the last surviving great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. Like his royal forebear, he had an inherent love for and deep knowledge of matters involving Scotland. Kilt-wearer, laird, aficionado of the clan system, and upholder of tradition, he served his working life conserving lands in north-east Scotland.

He died peacefully at his home in Inverey, Braemar, after a

short illness, the day before his 81st birthday.

His distinguished ancestry across Scotland and Europe involved the royal families of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, while at his christening his sponsors were the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. His parents were Admiral the Hon Sir Alexander Ramsay, third son of the 13th Earl of Dalhousie and a much-decorated First World War hero; and Princess Patricia, daughter

of the Duke of Connaught. His grandfather Arthur, third son of Queen Victoria, was created 1st Duke of Connaught by her.

Royal service became part of his life from early childhood,

and he was always part of wider royal occasions.

As both a neighbour and cousin of the Queen, he was always on hand to greet her at the gates of Balmoral at the start of her annual holiday. As a deputy lieutenant for Aberdeenshire from 1971, he played an active part in arranging royal visits.

Captain Alexander Arthur Alfonso David Maule Ramsay of Mar was a descendant of William de Ramsay who witnessed the Coldingham Charter in 1198. In keeping with such ancient lineage, his designation ''of Mar'' covered one of the older named territories in Scotland. After Eton, he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards. During a tank battle in Tunisia in 1943, he was wounded, losing his lower right leg. He manfully learned to walk again, as a committed kilt-wearer, he could pass muster without a second glance.

Knowing that he would inherit the 1000,000-acre estate of Mar from his aunt, Princess Arthur, of Connaught, he went up to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1947, graduating MA in agriculture, later becoming a chartered surveyor. Death duties on Mar meant that he was forced into selling most of it, though he kept some land, on part of which he built a new home, Inverey House, in 1980. His estate practice at one time included

Candacraig in Strathdon, now owned by Billy Connolly. Strathdon is home to the Lonach Highland Society, and Sandy Ramsay's involvement with the famous Lonach Highland Society, led to his being appointed a Lonach vice-president. Since 1959, he

had been a vice-patron of the neighbouring Braemar Royal Highland Society.

Renowned for his courtesy, humour, and tact, Captain Ramsay was always quietly helpful. A generation ago he provided

considerable assistance to historian Fenton Wyness during preparation of a new book on Deeside, but modestly declined to have his name mentioned in

the credits. For many years from 1965, he was chairman of the executive committee of the Scottish Lifeboat Council.

In 1956, he married Flora

Fraser, later Lady Saltoun and Chief of the Arms and Name of Fraser, and supported her greatly in her work for the wider clan. Together they lived at her ancestral home, Cairnbulg Castle, near Fraserburgh, and he indulged

his interest in heraldry (personal motto: Ora Et Labora Pray and Labour). He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and seven grandchildren.