British Afternoon Tea
England's first tea drinking queen, Catherine of Braganza was an Portuguese princess who came to England with Charles II. She became his wife in 1662 and introduced this new fashionable drink which the English ladies soon adopted as their go-to beverage instead wine or ale - because they heated or stupefied their brains morning noon night.
Queen Catherine of England was the first person in history to enjoy a hot cup of tea on their birthday. The English poet Edmund Waller wrote about this special occasion with these lyrics: " Venus her myrtle, Phoebus has his bays;Tea both excels,which she vouchsafes to praise."With a population that grew from 3 million at the beginning of 17th century to 5 millions by its close, England in Queen Catherine’s time was both “pen and untamed” while enjoying the culture handed down from Elizabethans.
The queen's taste for rare and costly gifts may account for the Queen’s selection by directors of East India Company as a gift to the king in 1664. Records show that on July 1st, an order was given to have master attendant go board ships now arrived (from Baiilam,Java), enquire what rarities exist within their cargo including birds/beasts or other curiosities fit present His Majesty.Having acquainted the Court of Directors on Aug. 22 that the factors had, in every instance failed the East India Company by not providing what they required for -the Governor was convinced if they thought fit he could get them to provide some silver cases containing oil cinnamon and good tea,which he hoped would be acceptable.
The court approved this very well and on September 30th there is an entry in the general books:
Sundry accounts Oweth to John Stannion, Secy.
Presents-For a case containing six
China bottles headed with
silver............ £ 13.0.0
More for 2 lbs. 2 oz. of thea
for His Majesty ........ 4.5.0
It was in 1666 when the latest fashion trend arrived in England-tea drinking.The Dutch had been serving this form of entertainment at their court for some time, but it wasn't until Henry Bennet,Thomas Butler,Charles II's Secretary of State and Thomas Butler,Earl Of Ossory returned with an abundance from The Hague that everyone started taking notice! They brought back not only plenty supplies of tea--they also introduced new styles from the continent to learn how best serve these delicacies which were quickly becoming popular among both upper classes in Britain.The Netherlands were at the height of elegance in tea serving at this time, and every home with any consequence had its exclusive room.
Thanks to the imported Dutch teas given by their ladies, Lord Arlington and Lord Ossory were able not only introduced from Holland but also popularized a new drink that would soon become Britain's favorite: English tea.Tea was a luxury item in 18th century England. At the time Lord Arlington and Lord Ossory returned from their trip, the French historian Abbe Raynal (1713-1796 AD) informed us that tea had become popular among Londoners because it cost near £2 per pound,however its vogue at the British court attracted many ladies.Having first heard about the benefits of tea from the apothecary then, Pepys's wife later on in 1667 made some tea for herself. The next day he recorded that she seemed to be feeling better after drinking it.
The custom of afternoon tea as a meal and social event began with Anna Maria Stanhope,Duchess of Bedford (1783 - 1857 AD).She often experienced what was called “a sinking feeling” between lunchtime and dinner time.Thinking that sustenance might help her feel better,she began drinking teas around five o'clock in order prolong pleasure until eight of the dinner time,when they were usually served only light snacks such like cakes. This small eating habit of the afternoon tea became so beneficial for those who attended these gatherings at Belvoir Castle because it prolonged enjoyment by giving guests some warm tea and sweets such as small cakes,sandwiches of bread and butter,etc.
Anna introduced this practice to her summer residence and it became so successful that when the family returned in fall, Anna continued hosting teas. Other people caught on with inviting friends for walks through fields which were still present close by London at that time ( during Queen Victoria's day). It wasn't until middle- serpent nineteenth century late afternoon tea became established throughout England; however only among those who could afford these luxuries.The afternoon tea reception became one of the most popular traditions in British culture. It was introduced to Queen Victoria, who loved it so much that she started having these get togethers at her home Buckingham Palace starting 1865!
The traditional afternoon tea is served with a three-tiered cake stand and sandwiches with tea. There are also cookies for those who want some sweet treats in their meal! The variety of cakes will have you satisfied until dinner time rolls around.
By the time Queen Victoria died in 1901, tea was a staple of English life. A drink that the masses enjoyed,it became important to lower-class women who formed clubs and bonded over their shared love for this simple beverage in villages all across Britain,especially Wales.The women of these clubs would get together in the afternoon and share lea, gossip about their neighbors or give advice to others. When money was scarce they also shared responsibilities with one woman bringing tea another biscuits or teapot for everyone else!
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