Mary, Marchioness of Ailsa
May 3, 1916 – August 17, 2007
THE long life of Mary, Marchioness of Ailsa, who has died aged 91, was inextricably bound up with Culzean Castle, the Kennedy family seat until the house and its contents were handed over to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945.
Lady Ailsa was one of the last members of the Kennedy family to live at Culzean, which dominates the South Ayrshire coastline, along with her late husband the 7th Marquess, Archibald David Kennedy. She lived in Ayrshire for most of her life, latterly at Cassillis.
One of Scotland's most visited stately homes, Culzean had a heritage that was zealously guarded by Lady Ailsa following her husband's death in 1994. A slender lady with an aristocratic air, she was particularly forceful in the face of several controversial alterations to the castle's collection of furniture and pictures.
Lady Ailsa always proclaimed: "I am proud of being a Kennedy", the family of which she was a member for more than half a century. Born Mary Burn in 1916, the youngest of eight children, she never knew her father John, who was killed in France towards the end of the Great War. At the Duchess School in Alnwick, young Mary excelled on the sports field and led a happy but frugal home life with her widowed mother.
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Reproduced with the permission of The Herald, Glasgow © 2007 Herald & Times Group