The first reference to this fruity afternoon tea, flavoured with Bergamot Oranges, was in 1824. Many people believe that it was named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and British Prime Minister 1830-1834. Before his notable career in politics, which began upon his election to Parliament aged 22, he had a brief affair, and an illegitimate daughter with the Duchess of Devonshire, portrayed in the film ‘The Duchess’.
As Prime Minister, he was key in the Reform Act (1832) as well as moving forward the abolition of slavery in Britain with the act of 1833.
In 2012, the Oxford English Dictionary, in a bid to find out the real links between the Earl and the Tea, launched an appeal. One story mentioned his good work in China, another mentions that bergamot oranges were shipped to him with tea leaves and they accidentally were mixed together. Another account says that he asked for this blend to be created as he disliked the natural taste of the water at his home in Northumberland. Therefore it is not actually clear, but it remains a national favourite, a great pairing with scones, cakes, or simply by itself.