Friday, January 17, 2014

Afternoon Tea: Beginings in Victorian Era

Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford
Afternoon tea did not begin until the 1800’s. It was created to combat a sinking feeling of a duchess during the afternoons due to the time between meals. It then became a favorite past time for the nobles and then for the whole country.

Before there was afternoon tea, the British only had two meals: breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was eaten in morning and dinner eaten at 7pm of the evening. Between the two meals a huge time gap exist. This gap resulted for some to have a sinking feeling or lose of energy in the afternoons. One of those who felt these sinking feeling was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria and the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria.

During the mid-1800’s Duchess Anna Maria found a way to cure this melancholy. She found out that drinking tea rejuvenated her energy. After since, every 4pm, she would drink a cup of tea and then compliment it with mini cakes, sandwiches, and other confectionaries to make her tea drinking experience better. To make it even better, she invited her friends to join her in her residence in Belvoir Castle. During tea, they gossip and made it as a social gathering. Queen Victoria was also invited to one of the Duchess’ tea party and enjoyed it.

Queen Victoria used this afternoon tea ceremony to reconnect with the society.  After the death of his well beloved husband, Albert, she withdrew from public view for almost ten years. The afternoon tea, which was now a small social gathering to get to know the latest news, was a way for her to socialize with others once again. The Queen later hosted her own afternoon, which was widely encouraged by many. By 1865, Afternoon Tea reception in Buckingham Palace began.

After queen hosted her own tea party, others followed soon. Afternoon tea spread like wildfire in British society. It was always part of routine for the aristocrats, then later by the masses. Sometime later, many workers demanded for their own tea breaks. Afternoon tea change the way of the lives of many British.

See Also:
Popularizing of Tea in England

Foster, P. Abby Cooks Entertain. Ontario: Pamela Powered Inc. 2012. 

Martin, L. Tea: The Drink that Changed the World. Vermont: Turtle Publishing, 2007. 

Moffat, M. Afternoon Tea: A Timeless Tradition. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2012. 

Pettigrew, J. Afternoon Tea. Hampshire: Jarrold Publishing, 2004.

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