Bruce, Robert, second Earl of Elgin and first Earl of Ailesbury d. 1685, was the only son of Thomas, third lord Bruce of Kinloss, and first earl of Elgin, and Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Chichester of Raleigh, Devonshire. While his father was still alive he was, at the Restoration, constituted, along with the Earl of Cleveland, lord-lieutenant of Bedfordshire, 26 July 1660. He was returned member for the county to the convention parliament in the same year, and also to the parliament which met in 1661. Succeeding to his father's estates and titles in December 1663, he was, on 18 March 1663-4, created Baron Bruce of Skelton in the county of York, Viscount Bruce of Ampthill in Bedfordshire, and Earl of Ailesbury in Buckinghamshire. On 29 March 1667 he was constituted sole lord-lieutenant of Bedfordshire, on the death of the Earl of Cleveland. The same year he was appointed one of the commissioners for such moneys as had been raised and assigned to Charles II during his war with the Dutch. On 18 March 1678 he was sworn a privy councillor. He was also one of the gentlemen of the king's bed-chamber, and a commissioner for executing the office of earl marischal of England, as deputy to Henry, duke of Norfolk. At the coronation of King James II he bore the sword, and on 30 July 1685 he was appointed lord chamberlain of the household. He died 20 Oct. of the same year at Ampthill, and was buried there. By his wife, Diana, daughter of Henry Grey, first earl of Stamford, he had eight sons and nine daughters. Wood says: He was a learned person, and otherwise well qualified, was well versed in English history and antiquities, a lover of all such that were professors of those studies, and a curious collector of manuscripts, especially of those which related to England and English antiquities.
Collins's Peerage, ed. 1812, v. 122-3
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 515-16
Cal. State Papers, Dom. Series
Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 491.
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]