Dukedom of Bedford
Arms of the Duke of Bedford
Argent, a lion rampant gules on a chief sable three escallops of the first (Russell).[1]
Creation date11 May 1694
Created byWilliam III and Mary II
PeeragePeerage of England
First holderWilliam Russell, 5th Earl of Bedford
Present holderAndrew Russell, 15th Duke
Heir apparentHenry Russell, Marquess of Tavistock
Remainder to1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titlesMarquess of Tavistock
Earl of Bedford
Baron Russell
Baron Russell of Thornhaugh
Baron Howland
Seat(s)Woburn Abbey

Duke of Bedford (named after Bedford, England) is a title that has been created six times (for five distinct people) in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1414 for Henry IV's third son, John, who later served as regent of France. In 1433 he surrendered the title and it was re-granted to him. The title became extinct on his death in 1435. The third creation came in 1470 in favour of George Neville, nephew of Warwick the Kingmaker. He was deprived of the title by Act of Parliament in 1478. The fourth creation came in 1478 in favour of George, the third son of Edward IV. He died the following year at the age of two. The fifth creation came in 1485 in favour of Jasper Tudor, half-brother of Henry VI and uncle of Henry VII. He had already been created Earl of Pembroke in 1452. However, as he was a Lancastrian, his title was forfeited between 1461 and 1485 during the predominance of the House of York. He regained the earldom in 1485 when his nephew Henry VII came to the throne and was elevated to the dukedom the same year. He had no legitimate children and the titles became extinct on his death in 1495.

John Russell, a close adviser of Henry VIII and Edward VI, was granted the title of Earl of Bedford in 1551, and his descendant William, 5th Earl, was created Duke in 1694, following the Glorious Revolution. The Russell family currently holds the titles of Earl and Duke of Bedford.

The subsidiary titles of the Duke of Bedford, all in the Peerage of England, are Marquess of Tavistock (created 1694), Earl of Bedford (1550), Baron Russell, of Cheneys (1539), Baron Russell of Thornhaugh in the County of Northampton (1603), and Baron Howland, of Streatham in the County of Surrey (1695). The courtesy title of the Duke of Bedford's eldest son and heir is Marquess of Tavistock.

Every Duke from the 5th Duke onwards is descended from Charles II of England. The family seat is Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. The private mausoleum and chapel of the Russell Family and the Dukes of Bedford is at St. Michael's Church in Chenies, Buckinghamshire (photo).[2] The family owns The Bedford Estate in central London.

Dukes of Bedford, first Creation (1414)

Other titles: Earl of Kendal (1414) and Earl of Richmond (1414)

Dukes of Bedford, second Creation (1433)

Other titles: Earl of Kendal (1414) and Earl of Richmond (1414)

Dukes of Bedford, third Creation (1470)

Other titles: Marquess of Montagu (1470) and Baron Montagu (1461)

Dukes of Bedford, fourth Creation (1478)

Dukes of Bedford, fifth Creation (1485)

Other titles: Earl of Pembroke (1452)

Earls of Bedford (1551)

Other titles: Baron Russell (1539)
Other titles (4th Earl onwards): Baron Russell of Thornhaugh (1603)

Dukes of Bedford, sixth Creation (1694)

William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford
Other titles: Marquess of Tavistock (1694), Baron Howland (1695), Earl of Bedford (1551), Baron Russell (1538) and Baron Russell of Thornhaugh (1603)

The heir apparent is the present holder's only son Henry Robin Charles Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (b. 2005).

Line of succession (simplified)

Line of succession (simplified) [6]
  • John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766–1839)
    • Lord George William Russell (1790–1846)
      • (Francis) Hastings Russell, 9th Duke of Bedford (1819–1891)
        • Herbrand Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford (1858–1940)
          • Hastings Russell, 12th Duke of Bedford (1888–1953)
            • Ian Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford (1917–2002)
              • Robin Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford (1940–2003)
                • Andrew Russell, 15th Duke of Bedford (born 1962)
                  • (1). Henry Robin Charles Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (born 2005)
                • (2). Lord Robin Loel Hastings Russell (born 1963)
                • (3). Lord James Edward Herbrand Russell (born 1975)
                  • (4). Alexander Charles Robin Russell (born 2010)
                  • (5). Leo William Caspar Russell (born 2013)
              • (6). Lord Rudolf Russell (born 1944)
              • (7). Lord Francis Hastings Russell (born 1950)
                • (8). John Francis Russell (born 1997)
                • (9). Harry Evelyn Terence Russell (born 1999)
            • Lord Hugh Hastings Russell (1923–2005)
              • male issue in line
      • Lord Arthur John Edward Russell (1825–1892)
        • Harold John Hastings Russell (1868–1926)
          • Anthony Arthur Russell (1904–1978)
            • male issue in line
        • Gilbert Byng Alwyne Russell (1875–1942)
          • Martin Basil Paul Russell (1918–2003)
            • male issue in line
      • Odo Russell, 1st Baron Ampthill (1829–1884)
    • John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792–1878)
    • Lord Charles James Fox Russell (1807–1894)

Family trees

See also


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.131; The chief is present in the arms of the modern coat of arms of the London Borough of Camden, because the dukes of Bedford used to own land in the borough (see Bedford Estate)
  2. ^ "HERALDRY of the BEDFORD CHAPEL CHENIES". www.middlesex-heraldry.org.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  3. ^ Cracroft – Extinct dukedoms of England [dead link] Archived 17 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bedford, Earls and Dukes of" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ Burke's Peerage & Baronetage
  6. ^ Morris, Susan; Bosberry-Scott, Wendy; Belfield, Gervase, eds. (2019). "Bedford, Duke of". Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Vol. 1 (150th ed.). London: Debrett's Ltd. pp. 511–515. ISBN 978-1-999767-0-5-1.