The name of Ogilvie derives from Gilbert, one of the descendants of the ancient Earls of Angus. The name Ogilvie derives from the old British ‘ocelfa’ or ‘high plain’. The Ogilvie lands are to be found in Angus, with the Ogilvie family being made hereditary sheriffs of Angus in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
In the 15th century the tower of Airlie was built, the castle of the chief of the Ogilvies. The ‘Bonnie Hoose o’ Airlie’ was destroyed in 1640 by the Campbells and this tragic incident is described in a ballad of the period.
The Ogilvie clan was to suffer much in the service of the Stewart monarchs, supporting the Jacobite cause and fighting for the Stewart family in both 1715 and 1745. A regiment of Ogilvies also took part in the Battle of Culloden in 1746. After the defeat, the chief of the Ogilvie clan escaped to France and entered royal service there.
By this time the title of Earl of Ogilvie had been tainted and it was not until 1896 that an Act of
Parliament restored the earldom to the family. The Ogilvies have served as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth. David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie, served from 1937-1965 and his son David Ogilvy, 13th Earl of Airlie, from 1984-1997. David Ogilvy (13th Earl)’s wife served as a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II.
Royal links were also reinforced when Angus Ogilvy, the brother of the chief, married HRH Princess Alexandra.