Throughout the 19th century Clan Mackenzie was without a chief that was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms .  In 1979, Roderick Grant Francis Blunt-Mackenzie, 4th Earl of Cromartie, legally changed his surname to Mackenzie and was widely recognised as Chief of the clan (for example by Clan Mackenzie Societies around the Commonwealth). Although not descended from a Mackenzie in the male line (his father was born a Blunt and later changed to Blunt-Mackenzie after marrying Sibell Lilian Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Countess of Cromartie) he inherited his titles and Mackenzie descent through his mother (even she only claims a Mackenzie descent as a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie ).   On his death in 1990 his son John Ruaridh Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Cromartie succeeded as chief of Clan Mackenzie.  The Earl of Cromartie still owns lands in clan country however, the largest remaining Mackenzie landowner by some margin is Mackenzie of Gairloch , with an estate which extends to over 50,000 acres (like the clan chief, Mackenzie of Gairloch has inherited his clan name and lands through the female line).   The current chief is a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs .