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Portland, Hans Willem van Bentinck, 1st earl of

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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Portland, William Bentinck, 1st earl of

William Bentinck Portland, 1st earl of, 1649–1709, Dutch statesman in England. He was William III's most trusted personal adviser. In 1677 he engaged in negotiating the marriage of William (then prince of Orange) and Mary, daughter of James, duke of York (later James II). With the Glorious Revolution (1688) he went to England with William, was made earl of Portland, and was given extensive estates and honors. Portland fought for William at the battle of the Boyne (1690) and in the War of the Grand Alliance and negotiated the Peace of Ryswick (1697) with France. For negotiating and signing the unpopular Partition Treaties (see Spanish Succession, War of the), he was impeached (1701), but the proceedings were soon dropped.

See M. E. Grew, William Bentinck and William III (1924, repr. 1971).

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