Robin Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford

Henry Robin Ian Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford, DL (21 January 1940 – 13 June 2003) was a British peer. He became better known to the public than most of his ancestors by appearing in three series of the reality television programme Country House, made by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two. He was born at the Ritz in London to John Ian Robert Russell, Lord Howland (later 13th Duke) and his first wife, Clare Gwendolyn Bridgman.

The Duke of Bedford
Born(1940-01-21)21 January 1940
Died13 June 2003(2003-06-13) (aged 63)
TitleDuke of Bedford
Tenure25 October 2002 – 13 June 2003
Other titles14th Marquess of Tavistock
18th Earl of Bedford
18th Baron Russell
16th Baron Russell of Thornhaugh
14th Baron Howland
Spouse(s)Henrietta Joan Tiarks
IssueAndrew Ian Henry Russell, 15th Duke of Bedford
Robin Loel Hastings Russell
James Edward Herbrand Russell
ParentsJohn Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford
Clare Gwendolen Bridgman


The Duke of Bedford was educated at Western Province Preparatory School and then the Diocesan College in South Africa. His father, the future 13th Duke of Bedford, had gone to South Africa in 1948 to farm in the Paarl area. He continued his education at Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland and at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the early 1970s, while continuing to work with the stockbrokers de Zoete & Bevan, he took over the running of the Woburn Estate from his father, a pioneer of the commercialisation of country houses, who retired to Monaco. The Duke continued with the modernisation of the estate, and created a leading golf and country club business called Woburn Golf and Country Club.

However, his plans to develop a major theme park at Woburn failed to come to fruition. He suffered a severe stroke on 21 February 1988 when he was aged just 48,[1] which he was not expected to survive, but did. The stroke led him to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle and to be much less of a workaholic during his later years. With his wife, the former Henrietta Joan Tiarks, he appeared in the BBC series Country House, detailing daily life at Woburn Abbey, the Bedfords' ancestral home in Bedfordshire, England. He succeeded his father to the dukedom on 25 October 2002, but died in 2003 after another stroke in the Tavistock Intensive Care Unit, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, where he had been a major patron. This made him the shortest-lived Duke of Bedford. He and his wife had already handed over control of Woburn Abbey to his eldest son Andrew, Lord Howland, in 2001.

Family and children

The then Marquess of Tavistock married on 20 June 1961 at St Clement Danes in London Henrietta Joan Tiarks (born London, 5 March 1940),[2] daughter of Henry Frederick Tiarks III (born Woodheath, Chislehurst, 8 September 1900 – died Marbella, 2 July 1995), a merchant banker with Schroders, who had married firstly on 27 April 1930 (divorced in 1936) Lady Millicent Olivia Mary Taylour (died 24 December 1975), daughter of Geoffrey Taylour, 4th Marquess of Headfort; Henry Frederick Tiarks married secondly (3 October 1936) Ina Florence Marshman Bell (born London, 5 November 1903 – died Marbella, 10 April 1989), an actress known as Joan Barry, who had married firstly Henry Hampson.

Henrietta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford, is a granddaughter of Frank Cyril Tiarks and a relative of Mark Phillips.

The 14th Duke and Duchess of Bedford had three sons:

Titles and honours


  • The Honourable Henry 'Robin' Russell (January 1940 – August 1940)
  • Lord Howland (1940–1953)
  • Marquess of Tavistock (1953–2002)
  • His Grace The Duke of Bedford (2002–2003)


Peerage of England
Preceded by
Ian Russell
Duke of Bedford
Succeeded by
Andrew Russell


  1. "A Chance to Live", Headline 1991, ISBN 0-7472-3790-5
  2. "Chic Vintage Bride – Henrietta Joan Tiarks". Chic Vintage Brides. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014.
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