William Bentinck 1st earl of Portland

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Portland, Hans Willem van Bentinck, 1st earl of (c.1649–1709). Dutch confidant of William III. Entering the household of William of Orange in the early 1660s, Bentinck went on to become the prince's close friend and right-hand man, playing an important diplomatic role in the preparations for William's invasion of England in 1688. On becoming king, William rewarded Bentinck handsomely with English lands and honours, and in April 1689 he was given an earldom. A general in both the English and Dutch armies, he attended the king throughout his campaigns in Ireland and Flanders, and his informal negotiations with the French in 1697 opened the way for peace. But his vast wealth and close proximity to William made him deeply unpopular. He was impeached in 1701 for keeping English ministers in ignorance of his negotiations with France over the partition of Spain, but was never put on trial. He retired from court following William's death in 1702.

Andrew Hanham

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