As a rule the Queen takes her tea in her private quarters between 4 ~ 5 every afternoon. It is believed that the tradition of taking tea was begun in the 17th century by the French. Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English only had two meals~ breakfast and dinner. Sometime during the middle of the eighteenth century, dinner for the upper and middle classes was changed from noontime to an evening meal that was served at a fashionably late hour.
The Royal Family taking tea at the Royal Lodge, 1950.
According to legend, it was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope, also known as the Duchess of Bedford, who is credited as the creator of afternoon tea. As the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from “a sinking feeling” at about four o’clock in the afternoon. The Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs. Soon she adopted the European tea service format, and invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu featured small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.” The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.
There are various levels of tea such as Cream Tea~ which includes tea, scones, jam and cream, Light Tea – tea, scones and sweets and Full Tea, also known as High Tea, – tea, savories (tiny sandwiches and appetizers), scones, sweets and desserts.
Because teatime is a rather private affair for the Royal family we must use our imaginations as to what their table might look like. Here is my own ever so humble presentation. We had tremendous rain over the weekend so some of the photos, I am afraid, are a bit dark.
I began with a pale pink damask cloth topped with an antique piece of linen featuring hand embroidered roses and vines in a cheerful pink and green palette.
Both of the esteemed experts, Susan, from Between Naps On The Porch and Yvonne, from Stonegable, as well as myself, are eager to view all of the, sure to be lovely, tablescapes. The linky is open until midnight on Saturday so that enough time can be given to select and announce the winners of the following prizes by next Wednesday.
“Fit For A Queen”
I hope you enjoy the party and please take this opportunity to visit the wonderful blogs participating.
May your own home be your castle,