Coronation tragedy as wife of key player dies just days before event

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The wife of a duke who has a major role at the Coronation has died following a short illness, it has been announced.

A family statement confirmed the death of Lady Elizabeth Kerr, the Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, who died aged 68 following an operation.

The news was announced on Sunday, April 30, just days before her husband, Richard Scott, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, is due to take a ceremonial role at the Coronation of King Charles.

The Duke of Buccleuch, 69, is poised to play a ceremonial role in the King’s Coronation by carrying the Sceptre with Cross, a piece of royal regalia, to the alter at Westminster Abbey.

The Sceptre was last seen at the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II in September, and according to the Royal Collection Trust, it “represents the sovereign’s temporal power and is associated with good governance”.

In a statement, Benny Higgins, the executive chairman of Buccleuch, which manages the family business, said: “The Duke of Buccleuch and his family have announced that, very sadly, on Sunday morning the duchess died after a short illness following an operation.

“The duchess was the most wonderful, life-enhancing spirit and our hearts go out to the family as they come to terms with their loss.”

Lady Elizabeth Kerr is survived by her husband, four children and 11 grandchildren. There will be a private family funeral service in the Scottish Borders, with a memorial to celebrate her life to be announced at a later date.

The Duchess was educated at London School of Economics, gaining a bachelor’s degree in sociology, before going on to work on BBC Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope programme.

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Lady Elizabeth Kerr then moved to BBC Radio Soloway after marrying the Duke, Richard Scott, in 1981.

Her primary interest, however, was in the arts, with the duchess founding the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, a leading literary award for which she served as a judge, before she subsequently established the Young Walter Scott Prize for aspiring writers.

The Duchess was also involved in a number of other arts organisations, serving as the chairwoman of Scottish Ballet and the Heritage Education Trust as well as a trustee of the National Museums of Scotland and the British Museum.

The Duke of Buccleuch is a hereditary title, with the current duke being the 10th holder of the title, which was established in 1663.

The current duke is also one of the biggest landowners in Scotland and counts Princess Margaret as one of his godparents.

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