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Blair Castle lies at the southern end of the Drumochter Pass and, together with Ruthven Castle at the north end, was built by the Comyn family to secure their power right across the Scottish Highlands. Blair Castle was first built around Comyn's Tower in 1269, and by the time of Mary Queen of Scots' visit in 1564, the castle had been extended southwards to include the Great Hall. Cromwell's troops captured the castle during the Civil War, and in 1703 Queen Anne rewarded the family's loyalty to the crown by creating the second Marquess as Duke of Atholl. During the Jacobite rebellion in the eighteenth century, the castle was held by the Hanoverians when it became the last private castle beseiged in Britain, and General Lord George Murray, who had forfeited his inheritance by supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie, laid siege to what had been his own house.
The castle is the traditional home of the Dukes of Atholl. The present Duke, who lives in South Africa, remains head of the famous Atholl Highlanders, Britain's only private army. The castle itself stands in impressive scenery and was restyled as a Georgian mansion in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1868 the architect Sir David Bryce carried out further work when he remodelled the castle to reinstate its earlier appearance.