Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Henry Noel Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland (1919-1997)

When the 9th Duke of Portland died in 1990, because of the terms of succession, the dukedom died with him. However, the lower title, Earl of Portland, which had been created under different terms, did not die out and was inherited by Henry Noel Bentinck, a direct descendent of William, 1st Count Bentinck of the Holy Roman Empire, son of the 1st Earl of Portland by his second marriage. Before his succession to the earldom in 1990, Henry held the title Count of the Holy Roman Empire, and had a licence to use it in England.

The 11th Earl attended Harrow School before moving on to continue his education at Sandhurst. His attendance there was short-lived, however, as he left after only one term, departing for America where he spent a year working as a cowboy in California, before returning to England in 1939.

On the outbreak of war, Henry immediately registered as a Conscientious Objector, but due to his innate sense of patriotism and the death of a close friend, he found himself unable to sustain his views. He joined the Coldstream Guards and served with distinction in Italy before being captured, and remaining a prisoner of war until 1945.

After the war Henry embarked on a career in broadcasting. He joined the BBC as a producer and worked for the organisation until 1959 - his service briefly interrupted when he served for three years as a 'jackaroo' on a sheep station in Tasmania. After his departure from the BBC, he entered the world of advertising. Having joined J. Walter Thompson, he was responsible for producing over 600 commercials and famously coined the slogan 'Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes'!

The 11th Earl was always extremely interested in environmental matters. Following his retirement from advertising he moved to Devon and set up a self-sufficient, 10 acre organic smallholding and guesthouse which he managed for six years. Though the workload later proved too heavy, the earl did not leave environmental matters behind. Following his succession to the title, he used the House of Lords as a platform to further environmental causes. In his maiden speech he urged his fellow peers to 'keep their 'green' hat on always' and to work to create an economy which the environment could sustain.


He married firstly, in 1940, Pauline (d 1967), dau. of Frederick William Mellowes and had:

  • Timothy Charles Robert Noel (b 1953), later 12th Earl of Portland
  • Sorrel Deirdre (b 1942) m Sir John P.L. Lister-Kaye, 8th Baronet in 1972 (div. 1988)
  • Anna Cecilia (b 1947) m 1stly Jasper H. Holmes in 1965 (div. 1974) and 2ndly Nicholas G.S. Vester in 1975 (div. 1977)

He married secondly, in 1974, Jennifer (d 1997), dau. of Reginald Hopkins.

Archive Collections

  • There do not appear to be any archive collections containing papers of the 11th Earl of Portland.

Published Works by the 11th Earl

  • Bentinck, Henry N., Anyone Can Understand the Atom (London, 1965)
  • Bentinck, Henry N., The Avenue of Flutes (London, 1966)
  • Bentinck, Henry N., ISOWORG (London, 1971)

Published Sources

  • There are apparently no published works about the 11th Earl.
  • An appreciation of the 11th Earl, including an obituary and many of his writings, has been published on the internet by his son the 12th Earl.

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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