Born Anne Hay-Mackenzie, she was the daughter of John Hay-Mackenzie of Newhall and Cromarty and the great-great-granddaughter of George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie (who took part in the Jacobite rising of 1745 and was attainted in 1746). On 27 June 1849 she married George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Marquess of Stafford, eldest son of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland. He succeeded as third Duke of Sutherland on 22 February 1861. The Duchess of Sutherland had succeeded to her father's lands in the year of her marriage, and on 21 October 1861 the title held by her great-great-grandfather was revived when she was created Countess of Cromartie in her own right, with remainder to her younger sons and her daughters. She later served as Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria from 1870 to 1874.
On her death in 1888 she was succeeded in her earldom according to the special remainder by her younger son Lord Francis Leveson-Gower. The Duke of Sutherland died in 1892 and was succeeded by their eldest surviving son Cromartie.