George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal

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The 5th Earl Marischal, painted by Cosmo Alexander

George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal (c. 1553–1623) was a Scottish nobleman and Earl Marischal. He succeeded as earl on 7 October 1581, upon the death of his grandfather, William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal.

Described as one of the most important and powerful men of his day in Scotland, he was sent as ambassador to Denmark in 1589 to negotiate the marriage of King James VI of Scotland to Anne of Denmark. He founded the Marischal College in Aberdeen in 1593 and was Royal commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland in 1609. He rebuilt his family seat of Keith Marischal in 1589, and also constructed new buildings at Dunnottar Castle.

He married firstly (c. Feb. 1581) Margaret, the daughter of Alexander Home, 5th Lord Home, by whom he had:

He married secondly (c. 1599), Margaret daughter of James Ogilvy, 6th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie, by whom he had:

  • James Keith of Benholm who had no male issue.
  • John Keith who had no issue.


  • A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, Sir Bernard Burke, 1883.
  • "Keith, George, fourth Earl Marischal". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15263. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Parliament of Scotland
Preceded by
The Duke of Lennox
Lord High Commissioner
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Hamilton
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Keith
Earl Marischal
Succeeded by
William Keith

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