Robert Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford

Robert Alexander Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford and 12th Earl of Balcarres, KT, GCVO, PC, DL (born 5 March 1927), styled Lord Balniel between 1940 and 1975, is a Scottish hereditary peer and Conservative politician. The elder son of the 28th Earl of Crawford and 11th Earl of Balcarres, he succeeded to the family titles in 1975. Lord Crawford and Balcarres is Premier Earl of Scotland and Chief of Clan Lindsay.

The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres

Arms of Lindsay (Earl Crawford).svg
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
5 November 1972 – 4 March 1974
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byJoseph Godber
Succeeded byDavid Ennals
Minister of State for Defence
In office
23 June 1970 – 5 November 1972
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded byIan Gilmour
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
24 January 1975 – 28 November 2019
Life peerage
In office
13 December 1975 – 11 November 1999
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byThe 28th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn Hatfield
In office
28 February 1974 – 10 October 1974
Preceded byconstituency established
Succeeded byHelene Hayman
Member of Parliament
for Hertford
In office
26 May 1955 – 28 February 1974
Preceded bySir Derek Walker-Smith
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Personal details
Robert Alexander Lindsay

(1927-03-05) 5 March 1927 (age 92)
Nationality United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Ruth, Lady Crawford & Balcarres (née Meyer-Bechtler)
Children2 sons, 2 daughters
ParentsDavid, Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, KT, GBE, DL;
Mary, Countess of Crawford and Balcarres, 3rd dau of Lord Richard Cavendish, CB, CMG and Lady Moyra (née Beauclerk)
RelativesDuke of Devonshire, Duke of Saint Albans
ResidenceBalcarres House, Fife
EducationEton College
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
The Star of the Thistle

Early lifeEdit

He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] From 1945 to 1948, he served in the Grenadier Guards. He was honorary attache at the British Embassy in Paris from 1950 to 1951, and then worked for the Conservative Research Department.[2]


Balniel was elected for the Conservative Party in Hertford at the 1955 United Kingdom general election, and served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Henry Brooke until 1959. From 1959 to 1965, he was president of the Rural District Councils Association, and from 1963 to 1970, he was chair of the National Association for Mental Health.[2]

While the Conservative Party was in opposition, he served as spokesman on Foreign Affairs from 1965 until 1967, and then joined the Shadow Cabinet as spokesman on Social Services. Following the party's victory in the 1970 United Kingdom general election, he served as Minister of State for Defence, and then from 1972 was Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.[2]

Balniel switched to represent Welwyn and Hatfield at the February 1974 United Kingdom general election, narrowly winning the seat, but he was defeated in the general election in October. He was given a life peerage as Baron Balniel, of Pitcorthie in the County of Fife, in January 1975 before succeeding as Earl of Crawford in December the same year. After the passage of House of Lords Act 1999, he sat in the Lords by virtue of his life peerage.[2] He retired from the House of Lords on 28 November 2019.


Crawford was appointed First Crown Estate Commissioner from 1980 to 1985.[3] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the Special Honours List published after The Queen Mother's death.[4]




Coat of arms of Robert Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford
A Swan's Head neck and wings Proper issuing from an antique Ducal-coronet Or
Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Gules a Fess chequy Argent and Azure (Lindsay), 2nd and 3rd, Or a Lion rampant Gules debruised of a ribbon in bend Sable (Abernethy)
Two Lions rampant guardant Gules armed and langued Azure
Endure fort (en: Suffer bravely)
Thistle Circlet

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CRAWFORD, 29th Earl of, cr. 1398, AND BALCARRES, 12th Earl of, cr. 1651 (Robert Alexander Lindsay)". Who's Who. 2018 (online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Stenton, Michael; Lees, Stephen (1981). Who's Who of British Members of Parliament. IV. Brighton: Harvester Press. p. 16.
  3. ^ "No. 48258". The London Gazette. 23 July 1980. p. 10459.
  4. ^ "No. 56653". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 5 August 2002. p. 1.
  5. ^ Privy Council of the United Kingdom website,; accessed 2 June 2016.
  6. ^ Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 950 (CRAWFORD and BALCARRES, E). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.

External linksEdit

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
Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Lord Chamberlain
to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
David Lindsay
Earl of Crawford
Earl of Balcarres