Tea lovers should give their thanks to Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II (1662), who became known as the tea drinking queen for holding tea parties in her bedroom chamber. Mainly female gatherings, they were the first in England. Thus began a social way of life that has taken hold in today’s world of elegant teas.
During the 17th and 18th centuries teas continued to be held within a lady’s closet or bedchamber. The tea itself and the delicate pieces of porcelain for brewing and drinking it were displayed in the closet and inventories for wealthy households list tea equipage not in the kitchens or dining rooms but in these small private closets or boudoirs.
By the mid 1800s taking of tea in the afternoon developed. Tea gardens where ladies and gentlemen took their tea together outdoors, surrounded by entertainers, became popular. Anne, Duchess of Bedford, is given credit for introducing light sandwiches to a tea; thus it became known as an afternoon tea. During the...
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