Gordon, educated at Eton and afterwards entered the Army, becoming a Colonel in 1793. In 1767 he married Jane Maxwell, the daughter of Sir William Maxwell, and was described by Lord Kames at the time of his marriage as 'the greatest subject in Britain in regard not only of the extent of his rent roll but of the number of persons depending on his rule and protection'. In the same year as his marriage, the Duke was elected one of the Scottish Representative Peers, a position he held until 1784, during which time he generally supported Pitt. The Duke received a number of marks of Royal favour. He was created a Knight of the Thistle in 1775; Earl of Norwich and F.R.S. in 1784; Chancellor of King's College, Aberdeen, 1793-1827; Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, 1794-1806, 1807-1827; and Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeen, 1794-1808.