Henry Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland

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Henry Noel Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland, Count Bentinck und Waldeck Limpurg[1] (2 October 1919 – 30 January 1997) was a British Army officer, peer, and intellectual.

Early life and education[edit]

Bentinck was born in London, Middlesex. His father Count Robert Charles Bentinck (1875–1932) died when Bentinck was only twelve. He was a descendant of 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. Lady Norah was a great-great-granddaughter of William IV.

He was educated at Harrow and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 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 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 then was a prisoner of war until 1945, when he was able to rejoin his regiment in Trieste.


After the war he was a producer at the BBC. From 1952 to 1955 he worked 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.

He died at Little Cudworthy, a house in Dolton, Devon.

Marriages and children[edit]

He was married on 13 October 1940 to Pauline Ursula Mellowes (London, 15 October 1921 – Potten End, Hertfordshire, 10 January 1967), daughter of Frank Wilford Mellowes (Sheffield, South Yorkshire, April / June 1875 – London, 10 October 1940) and wife Doris (née Watts). They had three children:

He married secondly, Jenifer Hopkins, in 1974. She died in 2016.[4]


With the death of his cousin in 1968 he became Count Bentinck of the Holy Roman Empire, a foreign title which may be used in the United Kingdom due to a royal licence of 1886.

In 1990, on the death of his distant cousin the 9th Duke of Portland, he succeeded to the Earldom of Portland through his descent from the first Earl. One of the last generation of hereditary peers to take a seat in the House of Lords by direct inheritance, his maiden speech in the Lords in January 1993 was on the 9th report of the European Communities Committee on the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Legislation, when he spoke for restrained urban and population growth on ecological grounds.[5]


  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.
  3. ^ "Person Page".
  4. ^ Death notice: Bentinck, Dowager Countess of Portland, The Telegraph, 25 March 2016
  5. ^ Lords Sitting Environmental Legislation: ECC Report HL Debate 21 January 1993 (vol 541 cc966-1012 966) at hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/, Retrieved 9 October 2016

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by Earl of Portland
Succeeded by
German nobility
of the Holy Roman Empire
Preceded by
Adriaan Aldenburg Bentinck
Count Bentinck
Succeeded by