Katharine Marjory Stewart-Murray

(Duchess of Atholl; Marchioness of Tulliebardine; Katharine Ramsay)

1874 - 1960

Politician. Born the daughter of Sir James Ramsay in Bamff (Perth and Kinross). Having studied at the Royal College of Music, Murray was an accomplished pianist and composer. She married John George Stewart-Murray (1871 - 1942) in 1899, becoming Duchess of Atholl when he became 8th Duke in 1917. She was the first Scottish woman to serve as a Member of Parliament when she was elected for Kinross and West Perthshire (1923). She was also the first female Conservative to become a Minister when she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (1924).

Murray was a campaigner against facism, translating Hitler's Mein Kampf to warn of Nazi intentions, and opposing General Franco in Spain. She spoke against her government's policy of appeasement and Chamberlain's Munich Agreement with Hitler. The resulting conflict led to withdrawal of the party whip and the Duchess resigning her seat, thus bringing matters to a head at a by-election in 1939. However the Conservatives stood against her, caricatured her as a communist and she lost, but following events entirely vindicated her stance. She turned her energies to helping refugees.

Although widowed in 1942, she continued to live at Blair Castle until her death.

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