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Robert Alexander Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford and 12th Earl of Balcarres KT GCVO DL PC (born 5 March 1927), styled Lord Balniel between 1940 and 1975, is a Scottish hereditary peer and politician.

The elder son of the 28th Earl of Crawford and 11th Earl of Balcarres, he succeeded to the titles in 1975. He is Premier Earl of Scotland and the hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Lindsay.

He was educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He served with the Grenadier Guards from 1945 to 1949, including in the Middle East. He was honorary attaché at the British Embassy in Paris, later joining the Conservative Research Department where he served as secretary to several Conservative parliamentary committees.

Lord Balniel was Conservative Member of Parliament for Hertford from 1955 to 1974, and for Welwyn and Hatfield from February to September 1974. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1955 to 1957, and to the Minister of Housing and Local Government from 1957 to 1960. He was opposition front-bench spokesman on health and social security from 1967 to 1970. In the Heath government, he served as Minister of State for Defence from 1970 to 1972 and for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 1972 to 1974.

In the October 1974 general election, Lord Balniel lost his seat to Labour's Helene Hayman. On 24 January 1975 he was created a life peer as Baron Balniel, of Pitcorthie in the County of Fife, and so entered the House of Lords. He inherited the earldoms from his father on 13 December 1975. Following the House of Lords Act 1999, which expelled most hereditary peers from the upper house, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres has been able to continue sitting in the House of Lords by virtue of his life peerage.

He was appointed First Crown Estate Commissioner from 1980 to 1985, and served as Chairman of the National Association for Mental health from 1963 to 1970, of the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland from 1976 to 1983, of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from 1985 to 1995, and of the National Library of Scotland from 1990 until 2000.

He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1972 and a Knight of the Thistle in 1996. He was Lord Chamberlain to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1992 until 2002. He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in the special honours list published after the Queen Mother's death.

Lord Crawford has also held a number of business appointments, including as a Director of the National Westminster Bank from 1975 to 1988.


Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

  • Master of Lindsay (1927–1940)
  • Lord Balniel (1940–1972)
  • The Rt Hon Lord Balniel (1972–1975)
  • The Rt Hon The Lord Balniel, PC (January 1975 – December 1975)
  • The Rt Hon The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, PC (1975–1996)
  • The Rt Hon The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, KT, PC (1996–2002)
  • The Rt Hon The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, KT, GCVO, PC (2002– )
  • Chief of Clan Lindsay (1975– )



Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Derek Walker-Smith
Member of Parliament for Hertford
1955February 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Welwyn and Hatfield
February 1974October 1974
Succeeded by
Helene Hayman
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
David Alexander Lindsay
Earl of Crawford
Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
End of office
Death of Queen Elizabeth
United Kingdom order of precedence
Preceded by
His Grace The Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry
The Rt Hon The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres
Succeeded by
The Lord High Constable of Scotland


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