William was the son of the 6th Duke of Portland and, like his father, was educated at Eton. He then attended Sandhurst before embarking on a military career, serving in the Royal Horse Guards and seeing active service in France during the First World War.
In 1922 he entered politics, having been elected as Conservative M.P. for the Newark division of Nottinghamshire, a constituency which he continued to serve until he succeeded as Duke of Portland in 1943. He served as an assistant government whip between 1927 and 1928, and was a junior Lord of the Treasury between 1928 and 1929.
Other honours held by the 7th Duke included that of Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire (1939-1962), Deputy Lieutenant of Caithness-shire and Chancellor of the University of Nottingham (1954-1971). It was the 7th Duke who deposited the Portland (Welbeck) Collection at the University in 1949.
In 1915 he married Ivy Gordon-Lennox (1887-1982), daughter of Lord Algernon Gordon-Lennox, 2nd son of the 6th Duke of Richmond, and had:
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