Hon Diana Mary Anstruther-Gray Macnab of Macnab, Deputy Lieutenant

Born: June 16, 1936; Died: January 2, 2012.

Diana Macnab, who has died aged 75, was an effervescent aristocrat with a sense of duty running through her veins.

Generations of her family had represented the Royals by serving in the Lieutenancy and she was delighted to follow family tradition, carrying out the role of Deputy Lieutenant with panache, bubbling over with enthusiasm for the people she met on her duties.

She also had an enormous sense of public responsibility, serving the communities in which she lived and chairing Scotland's Gardens Scheme for many years.

But her most loyal support was reserved for her husband, a landowner, councillor and clan chief, and their family among whom she was admired as a wonderful hostess and grandmother, with a huge affinity for young people.

The elder daughter of William Anstruther-Gray, Baron Kilmany PC MC, and his wife Monica, she was born in Edinburgh and attended St Katherine's Preparatory School for Girls in St Andrews before becoming a weekly boarder at Kilgraston School, Perthshire.

Leaving school at 18, as a young debutante she did the season in London and was presented at Court before working in various secretarial jobs in the English capital, including at the War Office and at Fortnum & Mason.

She met her future husband, James, now clan chief Macnab of Macnab, at a party in Edinburgh. They married in St Andrews in April, 1959, and rented Auchtubmhor House, Balquhidder, from Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor for a time before buying Finlarig and Tirarthur Farms in Killin.

The couple ran their estate there for many years until moving to Kilmany after the death of her parents. Both died within months of each other in 1985 – her father collapsed in the House of Lords and her mother, who had earlier been badly hurt in a fall from a horse, subsequently succumbed to a blood clot on the brain.

Like generations before him, her father had been Lord Lieutenant. Her mother was Deputy Lieutenant and Mrs Macnab followed in their footsteps in 1992, accepting an invitation from the then Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Lord Elgin, to become his deputy.

It was a role that she relished and which suited her personality. She was great fun, always interested in other people's lives and always ready to listen. Every opportunity to meet a centenarian or share a diamond wedding anniversary was seized with enthusiasm. And though she was a woman of incredibly high standards she was imbued with an innate kindness and an ethos that saw her treat everyone with the same courtesy.

Her other great outside interest was Scotland's Gardens Scheme which she served as chairman from 1983. When she stepped down in 1991 she was made honorary vice president.

At home she adored gardening, whether it was in her walled garden or the greenhouse where she spent hours cultivating plants from seed, growing beautiful flowers for the house. She was also involved in the National Trust for Scotland as a member of the executive committee from 1991-1996 and as chairman of the organisation's East Fife Members' Centre from 1995-1998.

Latterly she lived at Leuchars Castle Farmhouse, Leuchars, where she continued to be a proud supporter of her husband as clan chief, always accompanying him, wherever he went to events, dressed in Macnab tartan. The couple, whose partnership endured for 52 years, also made three trips together to the Far East where her husband had served for 12 years in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Malayan Police before their marriage.

But it was surrounded by children and grandchildren that she was at her happiest. A mother of four and grandmother of eight, they were the centre of her life and her ability to engage easily and meaningfully with youngsters meant that many other young friends also flocked to her side.

The life and soul of every party, she is also remembered as a great friend, a woman who burst with vivacity, her hospitality and welcome immeasurable. She is survived by her husband James, sons Jamie and Geoffrey, daughters Katie and Virginia and grandchildren, Alice, Emma, James, Daisy, Finlay, Francis, Bridget and Eliza.