Background and education
Born at Lixmount House, in Trinity, Edinburgh, Keith-Falconer was the eldest son of Francis Keith Falconer, 8th Earl of Kintore and his wife Louisa Madeleine, née Hawkins. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.
In 1880, Lord Kintore was the unsuccessful Conservative candidate for Chelsea. He succeeded to his father's titles upon his father's death in 1880, was appointed First Government Whip in the House of Lords in 1885 and was a Lord-in-waiting from 1885 to 1886 and from 1895 to 1905. In 1886, he was invested as a Privy Counsellor. In 1913 he was elected a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords.
Governor of South Australia
Lord Kintore was Governor of South Australia between 1889 and 10 April 1895. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) on his appointment. A freemason, he was also Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of South Australia during his term as Governor (1889-1895).
He arrived with his family at Adelaide in South Australia on 11 April 1889 aboard the Orient and was formally welcomed by the administrator, Chief Justice Samuel Way, who later resigned as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of South Australia in his favour.
In early 1901 he was asked by King Edward to take part in a special diplomatic mission to announce the King´s accession to the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Russia, Germany, and Saxony.
He was also a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy, a 1st Class Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia, a Grand Cross of the Military Order of Christ of Portugal and a Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star of Sweden.
In 1911, Kintore was presented with a royal gift cigarette case by Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria,(1884-1958). A century later, the gift featured in the Christie's London sale, SALE 7970 —IMPORTANT JEWELS held on 8 June 2011.
He died on 3 March 1930 aged 77 at 10 Park Place, St James Street, London, of acute bronchitis and periurethral abscess and interred on 7 March 1930 at Keith Hall, Inverurie, Aberdeen. He was survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
Lord Kintore married Lady Sydney Charlotte Montagu (14 October 1851 – Keith Hall, Inverurie, Aberdeen, 21 September 1932), second daughter of George Montagu, 6th Duke of Manchester, at St George's, Hanover Square, London, on 14 August 1873.
He was succeeded on the earldom by his second but only surviving son, Arthur. Kintore's daughter Lady Ethel Sydney Keith-Falconer, wife of John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven, eventually inherited the earldom.