Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland

The Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland was the monarch of Scotland's's personal representative to the Parliament of Scotland. From the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England in 1603, a Lord High Commissioner was appointed from among the senior nobility to represent the Scottish monarch in parliament when he or she was absent, as was usually the case up to 1707.[1] [nb 1] The Act of Union 1707, which merged the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England to create the Parliament of Great Britain, rendered the post redundant.

The Lord High Commissioner represented Crown authority and sat on the throne within the parliamentary chamber. The Commissioner gave royal assent to all acts of parliament by touching the final copy of each act with the sceptre.[1] They were the custodian of the Crown's legislative agenda and were effectively the heads of government in Scotland during this period.[2]

List of Lords High CommissionerEdit

Image Name Tenure
John Graham, 3rd Earl of Montrose 1605
Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox 1607
George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal 1609
Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline 1612
James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton 1621
John Stewart, 1st Earl of Traquair 1639
John Elphinstone, 2nd Lord Balmerino 1641
James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton 1646
John Middleton, 1st Earl of Middleton 1661, 1662
John Leslie, 7th Earl of Rothes 1663, 1665, 1667
John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale 1669, 1670, 1672,
1673, 1674, 1678
James, Duke of Albany (later James VII) 1681
William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry 1685
Alexander Stuart, 5th Earl of Moray 1686
William Douglas, Duke of Hamilton 1689
George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville 1690
William Douglas, Duke of Hamilton 1693
John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale 1695
John Murray, Earl of Tullibardine 1696
Patrick Hume, 1st Earl of Marchmont 1698
James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry 1700, 1702, 1703
John Hay, 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale 1704
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll 1705
James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry 1706 - 1707


  1. ^ a b Mann, Alastair (2018). "Officers of state and representation in the pre-modern Scottish Parliament". In Mann, Alastair (ed.). Political Representation: Communities, Ideas and Institutions in Europe (c. 1200 - c. 1690). Leiden: Brill. pp. 142–160.
  2. ^ "a personal representative of the Sovereign, Lords High Commissioner were appointed to the Scottish Parliament between the Union of the Crowns (1603) and the Act of Union (1707) and were the heads of government in Scotland". Gazetteer for Scotland, University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  1. ^ The only Scottish monarchs to preside in person at the Parliament of Scotland between 1603 and 1707 were James VI in May 1617; Charles I in June 1633 and August to November 1641; and Charles II in November 1650.

See alsoEdit