MARY, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, has died at at the family

seat of Boughton House in Kettering, Northamptonshire, aged 92.

The widow of the eighth Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry and mother

of the present incumbent who is Lord Lieutenant of Ettrick and

Lauderdale, was a legendary figure in aristocratic circles and held

Queen Elizabeth's canopy at her anointment during the 1937 Coronation.

She was a popular society figure and Sir Winston Churchill once said

that when Mollie Buccleuch entered a room it was as though a light had

been turned on.

Perhaps her greatest achievement was to bring back to life Boughton

House, the Northamptonshire seat where she died on Wednesday, and

restore it to its seventeenth century grandeur.

She was born Vreda Esther Mary Lascelles on September 17, 1900, the

elder daughter of Major ''Billy'' Lascelles of the Scots Guards and Lady

Sybil, daughter of the tenth Duke of St Albans.

At the age of 20, she married Walter Montagu Douglas-Scott, Earl of

Dalkeith and heir to one of the greatest territorial empires in Europe,

at St Margaret's, Westminster, in the presence of the Prince of Wales,

Prince Henry, and other members of the royal family.

She and the eighth Duke were close to the abdicated King Edward VIII

and Mrs Wallis Simpson, notwithstanding which the Duke was appointed

Lord Steward to the Household by King George VI in 1937, only to be

replaced in 1940 by the fourteenth Duke of Hamilton because of his

sympathies with Nazi Germany.

The Duke regained royal favour, being appointed a Knight of the

Thistle in 1949. He died in 1973 and the Dowager Duchess lived on at

Boughton, remaining a lover of social events to the last.

She is survived by the ninth Duke and two daughters -- the elder of

whom is Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland, the younger, Caroline, is

married to the Conservative politician and former Spectator editor Lord

Gilmour of Carigmillar.