July 16th 1867
Taymouth Castle and a reflective Queen VictoriaWhen the 2nd Marquis of Breadalbane died in 1862 there were no children to succeed him but plenty of claimants to the estate and the Earldom. There was Donald Campbell of Fort William claiming direct descent from the eldest son of the first Earl who died in 1717; and John McCallum allegedly descended from a daughter born of the 3rd Earl’s second marriage. Neither could provide documentary evidence and their claims were rejected.
But there were more substantial claims from descendants of William Campbell of Glenfalloch (born 1621), the third surviving son of Sir Robert Campbell, and after much examination of old papers the House of Lords decided that John Alexander Gavin Campbell of Glenfalloch was the rightful heir.
His relationship to the 2nd Marquis was that of a fourth cousin twice removed, and his succession was bitterly opposed by his second cousin, Charles Campbell of Boreland on the grounds that Gavin Campbell’s grandfather was not the legitimate son of his father. It was a complicated case and it was five years before Gavin Campbell was formally created 6th Earl of Breadalbane on July 16th 1867.
Taymouth Castle was therefore unoccupied when Queen Victoria paid a second visit to Kenmore in 1866. She mentions her visit in a rather sad little footnote in her Highland Journals. “I revisited Taymouth last autumn from Dunkeld with Louise, the Dowager Duchess of Atholl and Miss MacGregor. As we could not have driven through the grounds without asking permission and we did not wish to be known, we contented ourselves with getting out at a gate close to a small fort.
We got out and looked from this height upon the house below, the mist having cleared away sufficiently to show us everything; and then unknown, quite in private, I gazed - not without deep emotion - on the scene of our reception twenty four years ago, by dear Lord Breadalbane, in a princely style, not to be equalled in grandeur and poetic effect. Albert and I were then only twenty three, young and happy. How many are gone that were with us then. I was very glad to have seen it again. It seemed unaltered."