Ian Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford
John Ian Robert Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford (24 May 1917 – 25 October 2002), styled Lord Howland until 1940 and Marquess of Tavistock between 1940 and 1953, was a British peer and writer. With J. Chipperfield he founded Woburn Safari Park and was the first Duke to open to the public the family seat, Woburn Abbey, which houses a large gallery of European paintings. As with the Duke of Rutland's Belvoir Castle, Woburn is in the county after which the title is named.
The Duke of Bedford
Portrait taken by Allan Warren
|Member of the House of Lords|
as Duke of Bedford
9 October 1953 – 11 November 1999
|Preceded by||Hastings Russell|
|Succeeded by||House of Lords Act 1999|
|Born||24 May 1917|
St George Hanover Square, London, England
|Died||25 October 2002 85) (aged|
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Clare Gwendolen Hollway
(m. 1939; died 1945)
(m. 1947; div. 1960)
|Children||Henry Robin Ian Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford|
Francis Hastings Russell
|Parents||Hastings Russell, 12th Duke of Bedford|
Louisa Crommelin Roberta Jowitt Whitwell
Background and education
Russell was the son of Hastings Russell, 12th Duke of Bedford, and his wife, Louisa. He had a very strained relationship with his father and grandfather, who during his early years refused to give him the allowance he felt would be appropriate for a future Duke; his father eventually tied up most of the Bedford fortune in trust so that he could not borrow against it.
The 13th Duke was known in his youth as Ian, with the courtesy title Lord Howland. His father succeeded to the dukedom in 1940, and Lord Howland acquired the courtesy title Marquess of Tavistock.
Russell started his career as a rent collector in 1938, in Stepney. He then joined the Coldstream Guards in 1939 and fought in the Second World War between 1939 and 1940, but left the army after being invalided. He then turned to journalism and became a reporter for the Daily Express in 1940. He published:
- A Silver-Plated Spoon (1959)
- The Duke of Bedford's Book of Snobs (1965)
- The Flying Duchess (1968)
- How to Run a Stately Home (1971)
Russell was one of the few UK owners of a brand new 1958 Edsel Citation 4 door sedan motorcar, which he purchased soon after its US launch in September 1957 and was registered 1 MMC. Its current whereabouts are unknown. He was the first Duke of Bedford to open Woburn Abbey to the public, a move that alienated him from many other peers. In 1962, he appeared as himself in the British comedy film The Iron Maiden, scenes in which were filmed at Woburn.
He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1985.
Russell had three duchesses. He married Clare Gwendolen (née Bridgman) Hollway (1903–1945) on 6 April 1939. She died of an overdose. They had two children:
- Henry Robin Ian Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford (1940–2003)
- Lord Rudolf Russell (b. 7 March 1944)
On 13 February 1947, he married Lydia (17 October 1917 – 25 July 2006), daughter of John Yarde-Buller, 3rd Baron Churston and Denise (née Orme); this duchess was the widow of Capt. Ian Archibald de Hoghton Lyle (1909–1942), heir to a baronetcy, by which marriage she brought to Woburn two step-children. They divorced in 1960 but had a child:
- Lord Francis Hastings Russell (b. 27 February 1950)
He married French divorcée and trailblazing female producer Nicole Milinaire (29 June 1920 – 7 September 2012) on 4 September 1960; they had no issue.
Bedford and his last duchess became tax exiles in 1974, eventually settling in Monaco. He died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2002.
- England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
- John Russell, A Silver-Plated Spoon (1959).
- John Russell, The Duke of Bedford's Book of Snobs 87 (1965).
- Vanity Fair Archived 1 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Owens, Mitchell (20 August 2006). "Lydia, Duchess of Bedford, 88, Pioneer in Noble-Tourism, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "Obituary: Nicole, Duchess of Bedford". The Daily Telegraph. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Bedford
|Peerage of England|
| Duke of Bedford