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The Wedding of The Chief

(Pamphlet published by the Clan Mackay Society, Scotland 1936. A copy of which was given to me by Katherine (Hackney) Luby.)

An account of an Historic Occasion, prepared by an Ex-President of the Clan Mackay Society, to be circulated by the Councils of the Clan Mackay Societies to Clansmen near and far.

xxxSome of those who were fortunate enough to be present in Edinburgh for the Wedding of the Chief, Lord Reay, to Miss Charlotte Mary Younger of Ravenswood, Melrose, on Tuesday, April 14th, 1936, have felt that perhaps other clansmen would be glad to have an account of this historic event in Clan history written from the point of view of a Clansman. The News Reel adn the Press made a considerable feature of the event, particularly "The Scotsman" in whose issue of the 15th April some very fine photographs appeared.

xxxImagine then a typical spring day in Edinburgh. A wintry Easter week-end of rain, sleet and snow, as stormy as much of the Clan history has been, cleared gradually during the Tuesday morning, and the wedding itself passed off without any hindrance from the weather, and with occasional gleams of sunshine, a foretaste, we all hope, of better times to come. The ceremony was timed for 2.15 but by 1 o'clock crowds were gathering in the square in front of the historic St. Giles Cathedral, and once again, and not for the first time in history, the Mackay tartan worn by assembling clansmen and by the Chief himself was a centre of interest. Within the Cathedral ticket holders, including many Mackays, were filling all the hundreds of seats except those reserved for relatives and friends of the Bride and Bridegroom, with which were included some excellent places near the Communion Table for Clansmen known personally to the Chief. Not far away were hanging, as they have done for fifty years or more, the Scots Brigade Flags under which some of the Chief's ancestors and our own fought in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries.

xxxPresently the Chief himself appeared, a magnificent figure in full Highland dress. Looking a little nervous, as what man does not on such an occasion, he nevertheless still had his charming smile for all his friends and clansmen. Then down the long aisle came the beautiful and stately Bride, followed by her two Bridesmaids and five Pages, the costumes of the latter lending the old world touch that completed a lovely pageant. The ceremony, which was conducted by the Very Rev. Dr. Warr, Minister of the Cathedral, one of His Majesty's Chaplains in Scotland, and Dean of the Order of the Thistle, was beautifully simple and impressive. During the singing of the last Hymn, the kilted clansmen marched quietly in procession behind our veteran Seannachaidh, Dr. George Mackay of Edinburgh through the Church to form a guard of honour on the outer steps. They formed a representative group, from the ages of 9 to 79, and from nearly all parts of the Empire, and as the Bridal pair came down the steps, all flashed their dirks in air, a spectacle of the Clan badge, and gave the Clan battle-cry, "Bratach Bhan Chlann Aoidh!"--("The White Banner of Mackay!"). An excellent film showing this incident and giving a beautiful impression of the chief figures and events of the wedding was made by an expert from Messrs. J. Lizars of 6 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, and any clansman who is interested may secure copies, 16 m.m. size, about 100 feet in length, for 26/- each.

xxxSo to the reception in the Freemason's Hall, George Street, to be received by the Bride's Mother, Mrs. Younger of Ravenswood, Melrose, and to greet the happy, smiling Bride and her husband, the Chief. The beautiful and varied wedding gifts more than filled the two sides of the long Hall, and can be noted in full in the account given by "The Scotsman." Clansmen will be most interested in those given by the various centres of the Clan Society; a beautiful Silver Salver and Tea Service from the Scottish Society; a massive Silver Casket from the London Society; and a picture in mosaic of inlaid Australian woods from the centres in Melbourne and Sydney. With his usual meticulous forethought Dr. George Mackay, assisted by Mr. J. R. McKay, A.R.I.B.A., arranged for the coat of arms engraved upon the silver to be that which will in all probability be approved by the Lyon King of Arms; for strangely enough our Chief's Coat of Arms, having originated long before the law controlling the registration of Arms, has never yet been officially recorded.

xxxPresently after much toasting and good-will, we had the pleasure of cheering the happy couple away on the first stage of a honeymoon that will take them round the world. Their intention is to visit the East Indies, where the Chief has relatives and friends, and thence to proceed to China and Japan, returning home via Vancouver and Canada.

xxxAt a private dinner given that night by several of the Scottish Clansmen, and with Lord Mackay (of the Court of Session) in the Chair, there were present besides members of the Scottish Society, several representatives from London and the South, a representative from Burma--himself a founder member of the Centres in Melbourne and Sydney, and now busily organising a Clan Society for the East, one who had travelled much in Canada, another who had lived half his life in South Africa, and one who had lived in New Zealand. This dinner turned into a rousing Ceilidh, with song, story, and recitation, and was followed next day by a business meeting, at which with full unanimity the suggestion of the issue of this supplement arose. It was decided that it should be sent--under the joint auspices of the members present from the Scottish and London Societies--to all Mackays whose addresses are available, but primarily those in Great Britain.

xxxIt was further a definite suggestion that this should be the fore-runner of a series of Clan Mackay Journals or Magazines, which will be printed and circulated at a modest subscription to all Mackays who signify their interest in the proposal, and a worldwide census of Mackays is being initiated for this purpose. It is believed that there are thousands of Clansfolk, however they may spell their names, and wherever they may live in the wide world, who are proud enough of their name and of the history of their Clan to be willing to support and get benefit from such a venture, whether or not they are able to join a Clan Society. A wealth of interesting material--interesting, romantic and exciting--lies waiting for publication, and in Dr. George Mackay the Clan has a Seannachaidh at least as able and eminent as any in Scotland. Any Mackays who would wish to receive copies of such a publication are urged to notify, at once, the Secretary of their Clan Society, or, if they are not members of a Society, to write direct to Dr. George himself at 10 Rothesay Place, Edinburgh. He is in any case always delighted to have news or records of any member of the Clan.

xxxThe loyal good wishes of the Clan go out to the Chief and his Bride upon their voyage. They will everywhere find warm hearts to welcome them, and not least when at last they turn homewards to Scotland again, and to the future career in the public life of this Country and Empire which all will watch with such proud interest, "Bratach Bhan Chlann Aoidh!"

xxxxx237 Ashkirk Drive,
xxxxxxxxxxGlasgow, S.W.2
xxxxAsst. Secretary--
xxxxClan Mackay Society
xxxx223 Blackfriars Road,
xxxxxxxxLondon, S.E.1
xxHon. Secretary--
xxLondon Clan Mackay Society

Photo which accompanied this article

By courtesy of "The Scotsman"

Lord and Lady Reay.
St. Giles' Cathedral,

14th April, 1936.

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