Chief of Clan Kennedy, Marquis of Ailsa Dies Suddenly
News has just reached us of the sudden death of Charles Kennedy, the 8th Marquis of Ailsa and Chief of Clan Kennedy.
Lord Charles passed away suddenly while over in Florida attending Central Florida Highland Games. He was 58. As well as being Marquis he was also 19th Earl of Cassilis, 21st Lord Kennedy, 8th Baron Ailsa. He has two children; Lady Rosemary Margaret Kennedy (b. 1979)and Lady Alicia-Jane Lesley Kennedy (b. 1981)
It is understood that the title of chief will pass to the Marquess’ brother, Lord David Thomas Kennedy.
The Marquis was due to be chief of Loch Norman Highland Games at Historic Rural Hill later this year.
We will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Lord Charles Kennedy: One of the great characters of the clan scene
The unexpected and untimely passing of Archibald Charles Kennedy, 8th Marquis of Ailsa, 19th Earl of Cassillis, Lord Kennedy and 8th Baron of Ailsa has come as a great shock to the rest of the Kennedy clan, their friends and associates. With his death we loose not only a great clan chief who was tireless in his efforts to build ties between Scotland and the clan diaspora but also one of the few remaining larger than life characters of Scotland’s aristocracy.
Lord Ailsa was educated in Perthshire at the Strathallan School, going on to study forestry and farming. During this time he joined the Queens Own Highlanders Territorial Regiment attached to the 82nd Army Youth Team. There he taught skiing and other mountain skill to young recruits. After graduating he transferred to the 93rd Youth Team, teaching similar skills in the Breacon Beacons in Wales. His army career ended in the Ayrshire Yeomanry which was started by one of his own ancestors 150 years previously.
After leaving the army he was involved in sales and marketing activity relating to agriculture and began his own tour company; Lord Charles Tours where he organised trips to Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.
In 2011 Lord Ailsa was involved in a terrible accident while in Hawaii to open the Hawaiian Scottish Festival. This resulted in the amputation of his lower left leg and his right toes. incredibly this awful injury did little to dampen his enthusiasm, spirit and determination.
He continued with his tour business promoting skiing sledging and snowmobile tours which included the Arctic Circle Trophy Challenge in Sweden. As a result of this he was invited last year to be the first paraplegic to snowmobile through the Swedish Arctic. He did so raising £5,500 for the Scottish Diabetes Association in the process. the 200 mile snowmobile trip almost ended in tragedy when they became trapped by the worst storms to hit the area in over 20 years. Trapped by impassible snowdrifts and winds of over 150 miles an hour Lord Ailsa and his expedition colleagues had to wait three days before rescue rescue services could reach them.
This experience did nothing to dampen his appetite for adventure and a few months later he was in California where despite his disability he was able to complete a seven line canopy tour through a giant redwood forest and heights of up to 300 feet!
Lord Ailsa was a regular visitor to the USA, making several trips every year to attend highland games and festivals. In recognition of this he was made Chief of the Kennedy Honour Guard in Florida. His sudden and unexpected death happened while attending a Scottish festival in Florida and those closest to him have said that he died while doing something he truly loved.
His death at the age of 58 has robbed the Scottish diaspora of a great friend and advocate of Scotland’s heritage worldwide.