Henry Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Henry Noel Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland, 7th Count Bentinck und Waldeck Limpurg[1] (2 October 1919 – 30 January 1997) was a non-conformist intellectual, concerned about the environment.

Early life and education[edit]

Bentinck was born in 1919. His father Robert Charles Bentinck, 6th Count Bentinck (1875–1932) died when Bentinck was only twelve. He was a descendant of the Honourable William Bentinck, 1st Count Bentinck [2] (1704–1774), younger son of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, and half-brother of Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland. His mother Lady Norah Ida Emily Noel, eldest daughter of Charles William Francis Noel, 3rd Earl of Gainsborough, died when he was 19.

He was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst Military College, but left after only a term amidst press headlines - "Count missing from Sandhurst". He worked as a cowboy in California for a year, returning to England in 1939 and marrying Pauline Ursula Mellowes in 1940. He registered as a conscientious objector, but after the death of a close friend he joined the family regiment, the Coldstream Guards, as a private soldier. He was soon commissioned as an officer and served with distinction in Italy at Camino. He was wounded twice, and a prisoner of war until 1945, when he rejoined the regiment in Trieste.


After the war he was a producer at the BBC, where he met Professor Nathaniel Shaler, who had forecast ecological catastrophe as early as the 1900s. This led to emigration from 1952 to 1955, and working as a jackaroo on a sheep station in Tasmania.

He rejoined the BBC, as producer of the Today programme presented by Jack de Manio and other series. At this time he wrote his first book Anyone Can Understand the Atom. In 1959 he joined J Walter Thompson as an advertising producer, working on over 600 commercials. He created and produced the Nimble bread balloon commercials, as well as the first campaign for Mr Kipling, himself coining the phrase, "Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes".

He moved to Devon in 1974 with his second wife Jenny Hopkins to run a self-sufficient organic smallholding and guest-house for six years. Later he struck up a close friendship with James Lovelock the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, and published Life is a Sum Humanity Is Doing Wrong.

Marriages and children[edit]

He was married to Pauline Mellowes from 1940 until her death in 1967; they had three children:

He married secondly, Jennifer Hopkins, in 1974.


With the death of his father in 1932 he became Count (Graf) Bentinck und Waldeck Limpurg of the Holy Roman Empire, a title allowed to be used in the United Kingdom due to a Royal Licence in 1886.

In 1990, on the death of his distant cousin, the Duke of Portland, he succeeded to the Earldom of Portland through his descent from the first Earl. He used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to address environmental issues.


  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Biography Henry Noel Bentinck". The Peerage. [unreliable source?] - Website thePeerage.com
  2. ^ Ruvigny, Melville H. (2000) [1909]. The Nobilities of Europe. Adamant Media Corporation. 

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Victor Cavendish-Bentinck
Earl of Portland
Succeeded by
Tim Bentinck
German nobility
of the Holy Roman Empire
Preceded by
Robert Charles Bentinck
Count Bentinck und Waldeck Limpurg
Succeeded by
Tim Bentinck