Bentinck Family
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Bentinck Family

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 Lordship of In- and Kniphausen

The counts of Bentinck were sovereign rulers of the Lordship of In- and Kniphausen, a territory of two parts in and around what is now the city of Wilhelmshaven. Originally subject to Brussels, the general reorganisation of the Holy Empire in 1803 (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) granted Imperial immediacy until the dissolution of the Holy Empire in 1806. The Lordship maintained a precarious independence until 1810, when France annexed it and the whole German North Sea coast to enforce the Continental System. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Lordship was denied admittance to the German Confederation in deference to Tsar Alexander I, who wished to see the territory annexed by his cousin, the Grand Duke of Oldenburg. Count Bentinck fought for his little state, however, and at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, the Great Powers agreed that the Count's territory should be granted limited sovereignty.

The Frankfurt Convention of July 10, 1819 recognised In- and Kniphausen as sovereign within its own borders but under the protection of Oldenburg.[2] The Treaty of Berlin on June 8, 1825 finalized the terms. In- and Kniphausen was permitted its own commercial flag, which its vessels bore on the high seas.[3] Nevertheless, there was a long dispute between the Oldenburg and the Bentinck families in the latter's inheritance. This dispute was not ended until 1854 with a settlement in which the Bentinck family renounced its sovereignty for financial compensation and certain property rights. The Counts of Bentinck no longer claimed sovereignty over In- and Kniphausen.

Even before thw final settlement, Oldenburg and Prussia had negotiated the Treaty of Jade of 1853 in which Oldenburg agreed to sell 340 hectares of Kniphausen territory to Prussia as a naval station for its North Sea Fleet. The cession became the city of Wilhelmshaven.


The Dutch estate of the Bentinck family since the 16th century, Schoonheten House [nl], 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

Family tree

Bentinck Family Tree: Earls of Portland, Dukes of Portland and Counts Bentinck
Hans William Bentinck,
1st Earl of Portland

Willem Bentinck
Henry Bentinck,
1st Duke of Portland
2nd Earl of Portland

William Bentinck,
1st Count Bentinck

William Bentinck,
2nd Duke of Portland
3rd Earl of Portland

Christian Frederick Anthony Bentinck
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck,
3rd Duke of Portland
4th Earl of Portland

P.M. 1783, 1807-09
William Gustavus Frederic Bentinck,
2nd Count Bentinck
John Charles Bentinck,
3rd Count Bentinck
William Henry
4th Duke of Portland
5th Earl of Portland

William Charles Augustus

Lord Frederick
Charles Anthony Ferdinand Bentinck,
4th Count Bentinck
William Henry
Marquess of Titchfield

William John
5th Duke of Portland
6th Earl of Portland

Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck
George Augustus Frederick

Henry Charles Adolphus Frederick William Bentinck,
5th Count Bentinck
William Charles Philip Otto Bentinck,
6th Count Bentinck
Count Godard John George Charles Bentinck
William John Arthur Charles
James Cavendish-Bentinck,
6th Duke of Portland
7th Earl of Portland

William George Frederick
Count Robert Charles Bentinck
William Frederick Charles Henry Bentinck,
7th Count Bentinck
Charles Arthur Reynard William Godard Augustus Bentinck,
8th Count Bentinck
Godard Adrian Henry Julius Bentinck,
9th Count Bentinck
William Arthur Henry
7th Duke of Portland
8th Earl of Portland

Ferdinand William
8th Duke of Portland
9th Earl of Portland

Victor Frederick William
9th Duke of Portland
10th Earl of Portland
Henry Noel Bentinck,
11th Earl of Portland
10th Count Bentinck

William James
Timothy Charles Robert Noel Bentinck,
12th Earl of Portland
11th Count Bentinck

(born 1953)
William Jack Henry Bentinck,
Viscount Woodstock
(born 1984)



  1. ^
  2. ^ Twiss, Travers: The Law of Nations Considered as Independent Political Communities, Oxford University Press, 1861, pages 30-32.
  3. ^ Hertslet, Edward: The Map of Europe by Treaty, 1875, pages 723-726.
  4. ^ The Dukedom of Portland became extinct upon the 9th Duke's death and the Earldom of Portland reverted to the male line of the 1st Earl of Portland with Henry Noel acceding as 11th Earl of Portland.
  5. ^ "Bentinck Island". BC Geographical Names.
  6. ^ 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, archived from the original on 3 March 2016, retrieved 2008
  7. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. Kelly's Directories. 1884. p. 784. Retrieved 2017.

External links

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