Noble and Vice Chamberlain of Scotland. Born at Dunrobin Castle, the second son of Alexander Gordon, 12th Duke of Sutherland (c.1552-94), Gordon was educated at the University of St. Andrews and then in Edinburgh. He studied law in France (1603-05) and then moved to London where, in 1606, he was appointed a privy councillor by King James VI (1566 - 1625). He was granted a generous pension in 1609 and was knighted.
In 1617, James visited Scotland for the first time since leaving in 1603. Among the entertainments was an archery competition in the garden of Holyrood Palace, at which Gordon won a silver arrow. In 1621, through a sense of family duty, he generously settled the debts of the Sutherland estates at considerable financial cost to himself.
In 1623, Gordon pursued the rebel George Sinclair, 5th Earl of Caithness (1566¿1643), and took possession of Castle Sinclair, the Earl's residence. Two years later, he was granted land and created a hereditary baronet of Nova Scotia in gratitude for services to the new King Charles I (1600-49). Gordon was much favoured by Charles, who employed him as his confidential messenger to his future wife Henrietta Maria of France. In 1629, Gordon was appointed Sheriff Principal of Inverness-shire and, the following year, he was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of Scotland. During the Covenanting wars, Gordon acted as a mediator between the opposing parties.
Gordon had acquired various estates in Moray and united these into the Barony of Gordonstoun in 1642. He extended the tower-house there into a fine home for himself which is now the home to Gordonstoun School.