The Mystery Man Behind Earl Grey Tea

Loving my black teas as I do, I'm a huge fan of a classic cup of Earl Grey.  I normally take it with a dash of milk but mood dependent, I may have it as a stand-alone tea as I do my Darjeelings.

As I spoon out the loose leaves into my tea infuser, I ponder over the origin of this quintessentially English lets-drink-it-with-high-tea, tea.

I decided it was high time to do some digging to find out a little more about the mysterious man behind the bergamot blend.

The man in question was an aristocrat named Charles Grey. Born in 1764, from an affluent background, he studied at Eton and Cambridge and entered politics.

With regard to the namesake, he didn't receive the title of Earl until 1807 when his father passed.  Not only did he become an Earl, he also inherited the titles, Viscount Howick and Baron Grey of Howick. And if that wasn't enough when his uncle passed he added Third Baronet Grey of Howick to his repertoire!

As often is the case with politicians, he wasn't without scandal.  Whilst a slightly different "scandal" in comparison to this day and age, he had a child out of wedlock with the Duchess of Devonshire before he married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby going on to father sixteen other children.

With my considerable consumption of Earl Grey, plus being a Brit, I re-evaluated my high school history education when I discovered that he was elected the British Prime Minister in November of 1830, which I didn't know!

There was much achieved under his four year governmental reign. He brought about some significant historical change.  The two major nuggets I learned were The Reform Act 1832 which was passed as well as the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire.  

Earl Grey clearly left quite the legacy.  With all that information, I certainly won't be drinking my morning cuppa in the same way again!


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