Lady Mar sat as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords from 1975 until 2020.  On the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999 she was elected to serve as one of the ninety-two hereditary peers retained in the House. She decided to retire in May 2020, after forty-five years' service in the House.

She held a number of positions within the House of Lords:

  • Deputy Speaker/Chairman of Committees 1997—2007, 2009—2012, and 2014— 2020
  • Select Committee on European Communities Sub-Committee C (Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection) 1997—1999
  • Select Committee on European Union Sub-Committee D (Environment, Agriculture, Public Health and Consumer Protection / Environment and Agriculture) 2001—2005
  • Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments 2008—2011
  • Member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee of the House of Lords 2013-2016
  • Member of the Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, from July 2017 to 2020

Lady Mar was joint Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Agroecology; Vice Chairman of APPG for ME; Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Food and health Forum.
She has also held a variety of non-political offices:

  • Member of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal 1985-2006
  • Chairman, Honest Food 2000-2005
  • Chairman, Environmental Medicine Foundation 1997-2003
  • President, Guild of Agricultural Journalists 2007-
  • Patron, Dispensing Doctors' Association 1985-1986
  • Patron, Worcester Mobile Disabled Group 1991-2003
  • Patron, Gulf Veterans' Association
  • President, Elderly Accommodation Counsel, 1994-
  • Honorary Associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 2006—
  • Honorary Associate of the British Veterinary Association 2007—
  • Chairman of Forward-ME 2009—
  • Patron, Edith Ellen Foundation since 2015


Azure, a bend between six cross-crosslets fitchée or.  Crest — Upon a chapeau gules, furred ermine, two wings each of ten pen feathers, erected and addorsed both emblazoned as the shield.  Supporters — Two griffins argent, armed, beaked and winged or.  Motto — Pans plus (Think More).

The digital image of Lady Mar’s armorial achievement is taken from the original painting, which she commissioned in autumn 2013.  The artist is Mark Dennis, Advocate, Ormond Pursuivant of Arms, who is author and illustrator of the handbook Scottish Heraldry: An Invitation, first published in 1999 by The Heraldry Society of Scotland.


On 7 January 2013 The Countess of Mar, Chief of the Name and Arms of Mar, appointed as her private Pursuivant  her brother-in-law Lt-Cmdr  Laurence of Mar, MA, ATCL, FSA Scot. There was a Garioch Pursuivant to the Earl of Mar from at least as early as 1503.  Those interested in the History of Officers of Arms should consult the excellent volume Officers of Arms in Scotland 1290-2016 by Charles Burnett, KStJ, MLitt, FSA Scot, former Ross Herald of Arms.  This work was published in 2016 by the Scottish Record Society (

In Scotland there are only three other privately appointed Pursuivants of Arms: Slains, Endure, and Finlaggan, who serve respectively The Earl of Erroll (Chief of the Name and Arms of Hay), The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres (Chief of the Name and Arms of Lindsay), and The Lord Macdonald (Chief of the Name and Arms of Macdonald).



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