Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, the Royal Celtic Society's much respeted Vice President and past President, celebrates his 80th birthday today, Friday 25th August.
A former Lord Lyon King of Arms, Sir Malcolm's invovlement with the Society marks a long relationship with the Court of the Lord Lyon, which dates from the Society's foundation in 1820 and continues to the present day. Last year, he made the headlines when he celebrated 60 years continuous service as an officer of arms, making him one of the longest serving heralds in Lyon Office's 600 year history.
He was first appointed Falkland Pursuivant Extraordinary as a teenager in 1957, but his formal association with Lyon Court goes back even further. In 1948, aged 10, he made his debut as Page to his father, the then Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney. There is a famous photograph of him in that capacity standing alongside Sir Francis Grant, the previous Lord Lyon. Thus, in an extraordinary example of continuity in office, someone who is still a serving herald today was photographed with a predecessor first appointed Carrick Pursuivant by Lord Lyon George Burnett in 1886, 132 years ago.
In a lifetime's career with Lyon Office, Sir Malcolm became Carrick Pursuivant in Ordinary in 1958, serving in that capacity until his promotion to Marchmont Herald in 1971. In the meantime, he had been appointed to the important executive office of Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records in 1966, a post he filled until 1981.
In that year, he succeeded Sir James Monteith Grant as Lord Lyon King of Arms, and over 20 years in that office, was responsible for some of the most significant decisions in the law of arms in modern times. He was appointed CVO in 1981 and knighted in 1990. On his retirement in 2001, he was appointed Orkney Herald Extraordinary, an office he continues to fill.
Since the Society's foundation a clear majority of Lords Lyon have been members, beginning with the 11th Earl of Kinnoull in 1820 and continuing to the present day, with the present incumbent, Dr Joseph Morrow CBE QC, who recently spoke at an evening reception and will return as a contributor to our lecture series in December, when he will address us on the heraldry of the clans. Sir Francis Grant, Lord Lyon from 1926 to 1945, was an active member and very interested in Celtic culture, serving at one point as Chief of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. Former Lords Lyon Robin Blair and David Sellar are among our Vice Presidents today.
Sir Malcolm Innes has himself been a long standing contributor to the Royal Celtic Society, first elected Vice President in 1990. In 2011, he succeeded Sir Iain Noble as President, but his uncertain health led him to relinquish that role in 2015, when he reverted to the post of Vice President.
We are proud to have him as our Vice President and as an active and supportive contributor to the life of the Society. We wish him a very happy birthday today.