Lord Montgomerie perfect choice for Highland Games
By Marcus Fitzsimmons (email@example.com)
As the tents began to rise on the Maryville College campus Wednesday it was obvious the Smoky Mountain Highland games would be bigger — tent wise anyway — and that the board, which has been planning the games, has put in a lot of effort to rebrand the Scottish festival to its new home in Maryville.
And if anyone could empathize more or perhaps represent better the games, who are both inaugural in a new name and location and yet also celebrating their 30th anniversary as an event, it is the game’s Honored Guest — Hugh Montgomerie. Also known as Lord Montgomerie, a chieftan of his clan and the heir to his father, Archibald George Montgomerie, 18th Earl of Eglinton, 6th Earl of Winton, but at work in his Nashville office simply, Mr. Montgomerie.
“Here’s a funny thing, American legal forms haven’t got a space for Lord Montgomerie, so typically I’m just Mr. Montgomerie over here. It’s easier,” Montgomerie told The Daily Times. “When I start doing things Scottish and I revert to being a Brit, and I’m again at home, everything is Lord Montgomerie, but typically day-to-day people don’t call me Lord Montgomerie.”
“Now, should they? That’s up for debate,” he added with a laugh reflective of the UK accent and upbringing.
As a Tennessee resident raised in the UK, Lord Montgomerie has a firm grasp on the challenges of new locations. As a chieftan in a clan that had a near-ancient split with resulting changes in the spellings among the branches, he also has an empathy for an event with a new name.
“Quite exciting that it’s the inaugural Maryville games,” Lord Montgomerie said. “We’ve been to Gatlinburg a few times in the past so we’re quite excited to attend the new games in Maryville.”
Lord and Lady Montgomerie, who was the draw that brought his Lordship to Nashville, will be the honored guest of the games and attending events held by Clan Montgomery as part of that group’s annual meeting being held in conjunction with the games.
“Clan Montgomery is a nonprofit organization mainly American, and it’s not just the Montgomerys organized that way but most clans have a similar association, then you have the clan itself. Basically my father is the chief of Clan Montgomerie. As heir apparent I will be the next chief,” said Montgomerie.
“Different games have different rules, some call it chief of the games, some honored guest, call it what you will, they will invite a person to be such. Most clan (associations) then, because someone of importance to them is there, will have their annual general meeting at that games. Some games do it where a clan (association) will say they want to have their AGM there and then the games in turn may ask for a person of that clan to be their honored guest.”
Lord Montgomerie is likewise no stranger to adapting a tradition for the need. As a clan chieftan, Montgomerie is entitled to wear two eagle feathers behind his cap badge to denote his rank. Armingers — those holding a coat of arms registered with the Court of Lord Lyon — are entitled to a single feather, while the clan’s hereditary chief is entitled to three. But there will be no actual bird feathers poking from Montgomerie’s tam this weekend when Friday’s parade through downtown Maryville led by Knoxville Pipe & Drum kicks off the games or during the two days on the game field on the Maryville College campus.
“I’m entitled to two feathers, but I don’t like wearing eagle feathers because one, they’re illegal in the U.S. and secondly, they’re a pain in the butt when you have to bend into a tent. So I’ve gone down to wearing silver eagle feathers behind my cap badge,” Lord Montgomerie explained. “I have a dispensation from the Lord Lyon that when I am acting on behalf or and for my father, and we are geographically removed from each other, I can wear three feathers. But I won’t be in Maryville, I’ll be wearing the two.”