Dame Flora Louisa Cecilia MacLeod, DBE, lived from 3 February 1878 to 4 November 1976. She was the 28th Chief of Clan MacLeod. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Flora MacLeod was the daughter of Sir Reginald MacLeod of MacLeod, 27th Chief of Clan MacLeod. She was born in 10 Downing Street and brought up in London and Edinburgh, and at the family seat at Dunvegan Castle on Skye. In 1901 she married Hubert Walker, a journalist working for the Times newspaper. The couple subsequently had two children. While living in England, Flora worked for a number of charities. From the 1920s she spent an increasing amount of her time at Dunvegan, and when her father died in 1935 she succeeded him, being ratified as the 28th Chief of Clan MacLeod at a meeting of the Clan MacLeod Society held in March 1937.
As Clan Chief, Flora MacLeod took a highly international view, seeing the clan as a community whose members had been scattered worldwide by the Scottish diaspora. After the Second World War she took steps to transform this view into reality, travelling widely and helping establish Clan MacLeod societies in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in the USA. These initial societies were followed by others in countries as diverse as South Africa, Germany and France.
Dame Flora MacLeod was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in 1953, the female equivalent of a knighthood. She spent the next two decades furthering the unity and development of Clan MacLeod. She lived at Dunvegan Castle until 1973 before moving to Ythan Lodge in Aberdeenshire, where she died in 1976. She is buried in the traditional Clan MacLeod burial ground near Dunvegan.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".