Countess 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. 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.
- Monk p. 119
- Gibberd et al. p. 59
- Monk p. 306
- Gibberd et al. p. 378
- 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.
- "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