Spelled either MacDuff, MacDuffie, MacFie, MacPhee or MacAfie, this clan was originally the Picto-Scot royal line of which Queen Grouch (Lady MacBeth), was the senior representative. From early times, the MacDuffs held the title of the Earl of Fife.
The Earls of Fife became the premier subject of the kingdom, and enjoyed a number of special privileges; they bore the heraldic red lion rampant of the royal house, and enthroned the King of Scots on the stone of Scone at his coronation; the right to lead the Royal army; and the right of sanctuary at the cross of MacDuff, near Newburgh.
After the death of her second husband, King MacBeth, who also belonged to the house of Duff - her son by her first husband succeeded as King Lulach, but was murdered in 1058. Malcom Canmore won the crown, and as much of Scottish territory he could - with English help.
In Moray, the MacDuffs reigned as kings beyond the reach of Canmore. Margaret's eldest son, Ethelred MacDuff, changed his name to the Gaelic, Aedh, and succeeded to the position of hereditary Abbot of Abernethy, the ancient Pict capital whose round tower is one of the finest surviving examples of the Columban church.
Today, the direct line of the ancient house has been continued in the family of Wemyss.