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The Earls of Dundee have lived at Birkhill since the 18th century. In 1778 an earlier building was replaced by another in the style of Robert Adam; the castle in 1858 becoming itself enlarged and incorporated within the present structure and design delivered by the well known Scottish Baronial architect David Bryce. Before then the family had lived at Dudhope castle which you can still visit in the city of Dundee.

In 1106, a Scottish knight, Sir Alexander Carron, through an act of bravery, saved the new king of Scotland, Alexander 1st from being dethroned by rivals. In gratitude King Alexander appointed Carron, his heirs and successors, to be hereditary standard bearers of Scotland. Carron was also asked to change his name to Skirmisher or Scrymgeour, signifying a hardy fighter; and was given a part of the Royal Arms of Scotland to bear within his own Scrymgeour family coat of arms.

Battle of Bannockburn

At the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert the Bruce’s standard bearer was Alexander Carron’s direct descendant, Sir Nicholas Scrymgeour; whose father, Sir Alexander Scrymgeour for his personal gallant service had been made hereditary Constable of Dundee in 1298 by Sir William Wallace, the Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland.

In 1641, at the outset of the Civil War period, Charles 1st created Viscount of Dudhope, Sir John Scrymgeour whose grandson the third Viscount at the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 (after its abolition in 1649) was made Earl of Dundee by Charles 2nd ; Not only in acknowledgement of his raising of royalist troops but also in recognition that when following the battle of Worcester in 1651, the third Viscount himself had been captured in 1654, and thereafter imprisoned in the Tower of London, neither of these misfortunes would have befallen him without in the first place his continuing fixed loyalty to the king in exile.

In modern times the Royal Standard is carried at state and other ceremonial events. The present Scottish standard bearer and 12th Earl of Dundee is Alexander Scrymgeour, currently a parliamentarian in the United Kingdom; and who has recently been chairman of the culture and education committee of the 46 states human rights affiliation of the Council or Europe, in which parliament in Strasbourg he has also been a member.