February 3, 2009 2:00 am

Most important Murdoch of all

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As an indomitable Dame Elisabeth Murdoch turns 100 this weekend, she will no doubt be glad to know that the Murdoch Scottish Presbyterian work ethic has passed on to grandson James as he takes on board roles outside the family firm.

The Murdoch clan, led by number one son Rupert , are to converge on Cruden Farm in heat-sapped rural Victoria at a bash for 550 guests, including nearly all the Dame's 73 descendants.

The daughter of Rupert Greene - a gambler of half-Irish descent - she was an 18-year-old debutante when she met the legendary 42-year-old editor Sir Keith, who asked to be introduced after seeing her photograph in the social pages. He, of course, was the son of a Scottish minister.

In an interview ahead of her birthday, she said that son Rupert rang about once a week and they spoke about world affairs.

"Rupert and I often disagree about things but he has a great respect for me; he doesn't resent it," she said. "He doesn't take offence at my criticism, which is good."

people@ft.com

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