I am happy to report that mama arrived safely here in London yesterday, and at her request we skipped museums in order to help her skip the jet lag and instead spent the afternoon walking about the city. As a treat, I brought her to Kensington Palace to have high tea at “The Orangery”, ask any Brit and they’ll tell you this is one of the loveliest places to have high tea, and knowing mom’s love for beautiful gardens I knew it would be perfect for her first afternoon.
It is believed that this long standing English tradition is credited to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century. Over the course of a few decades the English had moved from eating three meals a day to only two, due to the adoption of a larger breakfast (eggs, sausage, potatoes, beans, bread, and ale) and thus not needing another meal until far later in the day, which became “dinner”. By the 19th century, during the 7th Duchess’ years it became custom to serve dinner as late as 9pm. She, and other society woman often complained of a “sinking feeling” around 3:00pm each day and so soon began to have tea and small delicacies to hold them until dinner. The idea caught on and soon began the regimented and beautifully crafted “Afternoon Tea”.
My favorite part? (Which for those of you who know me should come as no surprise) The scones! It is custom for the British to serve freshly baked scones with butter, jam, and clotted cream- yum!