Elizabeth Grant was the eldest of five children of Sir John Peter Grant, 9th Laird of Rothiemurchus, and his wife Jane. She was educated at home and met a variety of prominent family acquaintances in Edinburgh. In 1827, her family moved to India to avoid her father's creditors. While there, Elizabeth met and married Colonel Henry Smith, 17 years her elder, and settled with him on his family estate of Baltiboys in County Wicklow, Ireland. She kept detailed journals and began to write her memoirs on her birthday in 1845. In 1898, three years after her death, the work was first published in abridged form as Memoirs of a Highland Lady. Sections have also been published as The Highland Lady in Ireland: Journals 1840-50, as well as A Highland Lady in France, 1843-1845. She also wrote articles and short stories, which were often published anonymously. She used some of the income to support local schools in Ireland.