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Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, (March 13, 1764 - July 17, 1845). British statesman and Prime Minister. Known as Charles Grey until 1806, and then as Viscount Howick from 1806 to 1807.

From an aristocratic background, Grey was elected to parliament at the age of 22 in 1786. He became a part of the Whig circle of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the Prince of Wales, and soon became one of the major leaders of the Whig party. Grey was noted for advocating parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation[?]. His affair with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, herself an active political campaigner, did him little harm but was the ostensible cause of her divorce.

In 1806 Grey, now Lord Howick due to his father's elevation to the peerage as Earl Grey, became a part of the Ministry of All the Talents[?] (a coalition of Foxite Whigs, Grenvillites, and Addingtonites) as First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Fox's death later that year, Howick took over both as Foreign Secretary and as leader of the Whigs.

The government fell from power the next year, and Howick went to the Lords the same year, succeeding his father as Earl Grey. He would continue in opposition for the next 23 years.

In 1830, the Whigs finally returned to power, with Grey as Prime Minister. His ministry was a notable one, seeing passage of the Reform Act of 1832, which finally saw the reform of the House of Commons, and the abolition of slavery in 1833. As the years had passed, however, Grey had become more conservative, and he was cautious about initiating more far-reaching reforms. In 1834 Grey retired from public life, leaving Lord Melbourne as his successor.

The perennially popular Earl Grey tea is named after Grey, who reputedly got the recipe from a friend of his, a Chinese mandarin. Earl Grey is a black tea blend, which gets its flavor from bergamot oil. Traditionally it was made from Indian and Sri Lankan teas, but over the years many other varieties have been used.

Lord Grey's Ministry, November 1830 - July 1834


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