Although Lieutenants were appointed to a few counties in Scotland from about 1715, it was not until 1794 that a Royal Warrant ordered the development of volunteer forces for the defence of the country and permanent lieutenancies were established. Forces were based in each County led by a Lord-Lieutenant who was appointed by the Sovereign and who in turn appointed Deputies. The duties included provision for the protection of their counties in the event of invasion, threat or civil uprising. They directed volunteer forces and, after the 1797 Militia Act, were empowered to raise and command county militia units. After 1802 the Lord-Lieutenant was ex officio a member of the police committee and the local authority but the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1889 abolished these functions and the role of lieutenancies gradually became largely ceremonial.

The traditional links with the military have been preserved in a modern form in the association of the Lord-Lieutenant with the Armed Forces, the Territorial Army and other Reserve and Cadet Forces. In recent years the links between the Lord-Lieutenant and the uniformed organisations have also led to links with a wide spectrum of voluntary organisations. However the principal role of the Lord-Lieutenant is to represent the Monarchy in the Lieutenancy area.

This is a list of people who served as Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire.