Landowner and farmer

Born: September 23, 1929.

Died: June 22, 2015.

JAMES Carnegie, Third Duke of Fife, who has died aged 85, was a great grandson of King Edward VII and a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, a pedigree which made him 67th in line to the British throne. He also variously held the titles Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird, Earl of Southesk and Earl of Macduff. After the death of his father in 1992, he also inherited the title Chief of the Clan Carnegie, with the clan seat at one of his family homes, Elsick House in Aberdeenshire. His Carnegie ancestors, who were staunch Jacobites, also had close ties and alliances with the early Scottish Stuarts.

The Duke's numerous titles in Scotland and the UK did not require him to carry out royal duties and he did not receive funds from the Civil List but his heritage on his mother's side meant he was a member of the royal family and so could put a red crown on his car for royal occasions. Other than greeting the Queen at the Braemar gathering, those occasions were relatively rare.

Jamie, as his friends and family called him, preferred to be in his wellies while quietly farming his Scottish cattle estates, breaking the boredom by buying fast cars - he was particularly fond of Bentleys. Knowing his Bentley would struggle on the twisting roads of the Alpes Maritimes mountains, he turned to a works Ford Zephyr 6 for the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally, setting off at dawn from Blythswood Square, Glasgow, as starter Number 115. How or when he finished became something of a family secret but Ford kept him on as a works driver for its race and rally cars.

As a young man, he also spent much time fending off débutantes with an eye on his estates and a fancy for the title Duchess. He was good-looking, cheery, charming in company, though no playboy, and content on his own. When he was a boy, the Queen consort (later to be Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother) attended his birthday parties along with her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. He was considered one of the royal family and often invited to Balmoral. As a young man, the media often billed him as a future husband for Princess Margaret but they remained only close friends.

A somewhat closer friend was the ballerina Mary Drage but when she converted to catholicism, Lord Carnegie, who would have lost his line to the throne if he had married a "papist," bid her adieu.

His great love was the attractive British sportswoman Divina Galica, a former Olympic ski racing captain and breakthrough woman Formula One driver, who spent years turning down his marriage offers.

James George Alexander Bannerman Carnegie was born in London on

September 23, 1929, only son of Charles, Lord Carnegie and 11th Earl of Southesk, and Princess Maud Duff, daughter of the 1st Duke of Fife. James therefore took the title Third Duke of Fife and the royal connection from his maternal side.

He was educated at Ludgrove independent preparatory boarding school in Wokingham, Berkshire, followed by Gordonstoun. Always wanting to be a farmer, he went on to the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Called up for his national service from 1948-50, he served in 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during the Malayan Emergency. There was no evidence he was involved in direct combat with communist insurgents but the experience was an eye-opener for a somewhat spoilt son of the gentry.

Back from Malaya and farming the family 20,000-acre estate around Kinnaird Castle, Brechin, he inherited his mother's fortune and estates as soon as he turned 21. She had died in 1945.

In 1956, he married Caroline Dewar, daughter of Henry Evelyn Dewar of the whisky company John Dewar & Sons, who then became Duchess of Fife. The couple were devastated when their first baby son was still-born in 1958 but they went on to have Alexandra in 1959 and David in 1961, settling in another family home, Elsick House near Cammachmore in Aberdeenshire. They were divorced in 1966, reportedly after the Duchess had an affair.

Aside from farming, the Duke was a keen sportsman. He was a vice-president of the British Olympic Association and one of three vice-patrons of the Braemar Royal Highland Society (the Queen is patron and Chieftain), regularly greeting the monarch at the Braemar Gathering. In his thirties, he was president of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) and, as a donor and supporter, was closely involved with the West Ham Boys Club Boxing Academy in East London. Following in his father's movie-loving footsteps, he served as vice-chairman of Carnegie Films, a short-lived production company founded by his father.

In 1998, the Duke of Fife was called in to help identify the body thought to be that of Russian Tsar Nicholas 11, executed in 1918. The Duke's maternal grandmother, Queen Alexandra, was the sister of Tsar Nicholas's mother and so the Duke's DNA was used to confirm that the body was that of the Tsar. The Duke of Edinburgh's DNA was used to provide match-ups for other members of the Russian royal family.

The Duke of Fife's great-grandfather, also James Carnegie, the 9th Earl of Southesk, is believed to have been the first European "tourist" to travel through the wilds of western Canada on horseback in 1859-60.

The Duke died at his Kinnaird Castle home. He is survived by his daughter Lady Alexandra and son David, Earl of Southesk, who also lives at Kinnaird and becomes the Fourth Duke of Fife.