Governor of Hong Kong. Born in Glasgow, was educated at Rugby School and Balliol College (Oxford). He joined the Colonial Service in 1939, serving in Malaysia and China, before returning to work on the Marshall Plan for European recovery. He worked at the British Embassy in Paris and then the Foreign Office in London, before being appointed British Ambassador to Vietnam (1967) and Denmark. In 1971, he was appointed the 25th Governor of Hong Kong. He began the process of preparing the Territory for Chinese rule, yet won the confidence of the population by introducing social policies, initiating the building of public-housing schemes and taking on corruption, particularly in the police force.
He retired in 1982, having become Hong Kong's longest-serving Governor, and returned to Scotland where he farmed sheep at Beoch (north of Maybole, South Ayrshire).
He was elevated to the peerage as Lord MacLehose of Beoch (1982), created a Knight of the Thistle (1983), a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (1971), a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (1975), a Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1976) and Deputy-Lieutenant of Ayr & Arran in 1983.
He died in Ayrshire and is remembered by the MacLehose Trail, a walking route in Hong Kong, together with several social facilities in the former colony, including the MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre (opened 1984).