Bentinck family

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noble house
Country Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands,
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Titles Netherlands: Baron Bentinck, Count Bentinck†; HRE: Count Bentinck (Imperial Count); England: Baron Cirencester, Viscount Woodstock, Earl of Portland; Great Britain: Marquess of Titchfield†, Duke of Portland†.
Founded 14th century
Founder Johan Bentinck
Ethnicity Dutch

The Bentinck family is a prominent family belonging to both Dutch and British nobility. Its members have served in the armed forces and as ambassadors and politicians, including Governor General of India and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The family is related to the British Royal Family via Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's maternal Cavendish-Bentinck line.


The name Bentinck is a patronymic variation of the Old Germanic name Bento. The family is originally from the East of the Netherlands, and is regarded as Uradel noble, or noble from earliest times. The oldest known ancestor is Johan Bentinck, who is mentioned in documents between 1343 and 1386 and owned land near Heerde.

An important British branch was founded by Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland who accompanied William Henry, Prince of Orange to England during the Glorious Revolution. The head of this line was initially given the title of Earl of Portland, later Duke of Portland.

In 1732 the title Graf (Count) Bentinck, of the Holy Roman Empire, was created for William Bentinck, son of the 1st Earl of Portland. A Royal Licence of 1886 was created which allowed the use of this title in England. The Royal Warrant of 27 April 1932 abolished the use of Foreign Titles in the United Kingdom, but extended the special allowance in 13 cases, including the Bentinck countly title "during the lives of the present holders, their heirs, and their heir's heir, provided such heir's heir is now in existence." That exception has now expired.[1] Another branch with the title Count existed in the Netherlands, but died out in the male line.

The Dutch and British branches of the family continue to exist and belong to both the Dutch nobility and British nobility.


The Dutch estate of the Bentinck family since the 16th century, Schoonheten House, is situated between the villages Heeten and Raalte in Overijssel. The area contains 5 square kilometres of forests and cultivated land. Nowadays, the family mainly earns its living by forestry, agriculture and renting holiday houses. The British branch of the family owns Bothal Castle (Bothal Estates) in Northumberland and Welbeck Abbey (Welbeck Estates), the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Portland in Nottinghamshire.

Notable members[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Bentinck Island". BC Geographical Names. 
  3. ^ Walbran, Captain John T. (1971), British Columbia Place Names, Their Origin and History (Facsimile reprint of 1909 ed.), Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN 0-88894-143-9 
  4. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. Kelly's Directories. 1884. p. 784. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 

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