Patricia Russell

Patricia Russell, Countess Russell (1910 – 2004) was the third wife of philosopher Bertrand Russell and a significant contributor to his book A History of Western Philosophy.[citation needed]

Lady Russell was born Marjorie Helen Spence in 1910. As her parents had always wanted a boy, she was known as 'Peter', a nickname she retained throughout her life.[1][2] She met Bertrand Russell in 1930 when she was a 21-year-old undergraduate at the University of Oxford, hired by Russell's second wife Dora Black as a governess. They had an affair and were married at the Midhurst register office on 18 January 1936. They had one son, Conrad Sebastian Robert Russell, 5th Earl Russell, who became a prominent historian and one of the leading figures in the Liberal Democrat party. They had an acrimonious separation in 1949.[3]

Patricia was a member of the first board of the Harlow Development Corporation, serving from 1947 to 1950.[4] She smoked a pipe.[5]


  1. ^ Monk p. 119
  2. ^ Gibberd et al. p. 59
  3. ^ Monk p. 306
  4. ^ Gibberd et al. p. 378
  5. ^ Gibberd et al. p.378


  • Ray Monk, Bertrand Russell. The Ghost of Madness, London 2000
  • Gibberd, Frederick et al. Harlow : the story of a new town. Stevenage: Publications for Companies. 1980.

External linksEdit

  • "Patricia Helen (née Spence), Countess Russell, Third wife of 3rd Earl Russell; daughter of Harry Evelyn Spence". National Portrait Gallery. Details of 12 portraits, 8 of them reproduced