Nigel Ivan, 22nd Lord Forbes

Updated: Apr 14


Nigel Ivan, 22nd Lord Forbes, was born on February 19, 1918, as the eldest son of Atholl Laurence, 21st Lord Forbes, and Lady Mabel, daughter of Thomas Francis Anson, 3rd Earl of Lichfield. He was educated at Harrow and the Royal Military College.


In January 1938, he was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards, serving in the 3rd Battalion in Northwest Europe till wounded prior to Dunkirk on May 21st, 1940. On discharge from hospital in 1941, he became Adjutant of the Training Battalion, and later the Holding Battalion, Grenadier Guards. In April, 1942 he was appointed Adjutant of the 6th Battalion Grenadier Guards, which was sent to the Middle East to join the 8th Army. He served with that Battalion till the end of the North African Campaign, after which he was on the staff of Headquarters XXX Corps for the invasion and capture of Sicily. In April, 1944 he joined the staff of Headquarters 5th Guards Armoured Brigade, taking part in the invasion of Northern France, later serving in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards till the end of the war in Europe.


In May 1942 he married Hon. Rosemary Katharine Hamilton-Russell, daughter of the 9th Viscount Boyne of Burwarton, Shropshire, by whom he had two sons and one daughter: Malcolm Nigel, Jonathan Andrew, and Gillian Rosemary.


After the war, he attended the Staff College prior to going to Palestine as Military Assistant to the High Commissioner for Palestine. In 1948, he resigned his commission and devoted his time to the management of the Forbes Estate, which his father had gifted to him the previous year.

In 1950 he founded Harthill Farms and gradually developed it into a farm of 2,000 acres by taking in hand tenanted farms as they became vacant. He also continued to extend the afforestation which his father had initiated. In 1950 he and his wife renovated the farmhouse at Harthill and made it their residence, “Balforbes.”


In November 26th, 1953, Atholl Laurence, 21st Lord Forbes passed away and Nigel succeeded as the 22nd Lord Forbes. In 1955, he was elected a Representative Peer for Scotland and remained so until the abolition of the Representative Peerage in I963. He continued to sit in Parliament as a United Kingdom Peer and was a member of Parliamentary delegations to Denmark, Hungary, Canada, Ethiopia and Pakistan. He held the post of Minister of State for Scotland in the MacMillan Government from October 1958 till October 1959, and was made a Knight of the British Empire in 1960.


In 1964 he transferred the majority of the land of Forbes Estate, except for the castle and policies, into a Trust for his children and grandchildren. In 1973, he gifted the Castle Forbes estate to his eldest son, Malcolm, the Master of Forbes.


In addition to his management of the Forbes estates, he was a director of several companies and organizations, including Grampian Television, PLC; Blenheim travel Ltd.; Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd.; Scottish Committee, Nature Conservancy; and Aberdeen & District Milk Marketing Board. He was also Chairman of Rolawn Ltd. (turf production); Chairman of the Scottish Branch, National Playing Fields Association; President of the Scottish Scout Association; and President of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Aberdeenshire and Justice of the Peace.


Nigel Ivan, the 22nd Lord Forbes, died on March 5, 2013, and his son Malcolm succeeded as the 23rd Lord Forbes. His wife, Lady Rosemary Katharine, died on October 26, 2019.

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