An elegant woman of charm and some considerable style, Lady Macpherson relished her role as first lady of Clan Macpherson, taking every opportunity to be involved in clan affairs.

Dressed in Macpherson

tartan, she supported her husband on clan business all over the world.

It was she, however, who encouraged her husband to come out of retirement to head the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence, with the simple words: ''It's your duty''. The subsequent report by High Court judge the Hon Sir William Macpherson of Cluny gave birth to the term ''institutionalised racism''.

Lady Macpherson was educated at Wellington School, Ayr, while her parents were abroad - her father worked for the National Bank of India. After a secretarial course in Edinburgh, she worked for a firm of solicitors there before moving to London, where she was PA to the chief executive of the National Association for the Paralysed.

While in London, she met her future husband, then a rugby-playing young barrister. They were married in Edinburgh on December 27, 1962. With her husband's growing legal career based in England, Lady Macpherson became adept at running two homes - in London and at Newton Castle, the Blairgowrie home of Macpherson clan chiefs for 200 years.

A keen gardener and an active member of Blairgowrie Golf Club, she lent her name and gave her time to several organisations and charities.

Lady Macpherson died of cancer after having been ill for some months. She was predeceased by her twin sister, and is survived by another sister, her husband of 40 years, a daughter, and two sons.

Lady Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie (nee Sheila McDonald Brodie); born April 20, 1931, died October 30, 2003.