Nottingham Hospitals History


Duchess of Portland

Winifred Cavendish-Bentinck

Born at Murthly Castle, Perthshire, she was the only daughter of Thomas Yorke Dallas-Yorke of Walmsgate, Lincolnshire, and Frances (née Graham). She married William John Arthur James Cavendish-Bentinck on 11 June 1889. They had three children.

She served as a canopy bearer to HM Queen Alexandra at the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII, and was Mistress of the Robes from 1913 until Alexandra's death in 1925.

The Duchess was a Justice of the Peace for Nottinghamshire when based at the family seat Welbeck Abbey.

The Duchess of Portland was a passionate animal lover, who kept stables for old horses and ponies, as well as dogs needing homes. In 1891, she became the first (and longest serving) president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and was vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She was also president of the ladies committee of the RSPCA.

She was elected as the third President of the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers' Association in 1907. The Duchess was a vegetarian and a member of the Vegetarian Society.

In 1889, she persuaded the duke to use a large portion of his horseracing winnings to build almshouses at Welbeck, which he named "The Winnings." She cared greatly for the local miners and supported them by paying for medical treatments, and organising cooking and sewing classes for their daughters. She also sponsored a miner, with an interest in art, to study in London.

In honour of her support, the Nottinghamshire Miners' Welfare Association petitioned the king on her behalf; and in 1935 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) on his silver jubilee.

She was also made a Dame of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa in Spain.,_Duchess_of_Portland