Georgiana Cavendish and Charles Grey
No Earl Grey was prime minister of the UK and Ireland in the early 1830s. Yet it is not for that that he is now mostly remembered. Years before, his raging affair with Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, had mired him in scandal. He met her in 1788 at Devonshire House - then the epicentre of Whig society. The Duchess, in her early thirties, was beautiful, vivacious and kind but, being unloved by her husband, was also unhappy. Grey was 24, impetuous, stubborn, skilled in the arts of rhetoric and recently arrived in the Commons. He fell for his hostess like a meteorite, pursued her and wore down her defences. They could meet without scandal or suspicion, because every respectable Whig came to Devonshire House. After three years, she became pregnant with Grey's child. The Duke sent her away from England for three years, saying that, if the child was not sent away for adoption, he would divorce her (causing her to lose her other children). She had the baby in France; it was brought up in England by Grey's parents. Georgiana and Grey parted company as lovers, but were reconciled as friends. Their romance is still celebrated. Keira Knightley played Georgiana in the 2008 movie, The Duchess, and Dominic Cooper the adventurous Earl Grey.