As celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday continue, we thought we would take a look at the tea habits of monarchs past
and present. The drink has had a place in the hearts of our Royal Family for centuries, as the many Royal-related pieces of teaware in our Chitra Collection prove.
Queen Victoria was well-known for her love of tea, and the fact that she popularised the custom of afternoon tea started by her friend, the Duchess of Bedford. It has been claimed that the Queen would sometimes throw her cup across the room if the tea inside was not up to scratch! Her favourite Earl Grey would be served with shortbread biscuits and, even when she was out and about, her servants would prepare tea for her to drink in her Royal carriage.
Queen Victoria was also partial to a slice of cake. Battenberg and Victoria Sponge are both reputed to have been invented in the kitchens of Osborne House, the Isle of Wight retreat of the Queen and Prince Albert. Queen Victoria took the business of tea so seriously she even penned a book on the subject, called ‘Tea Moralities’.
While not so much is known about the present Queen Elizabeth’s tea habits, it has been said that she is a fan of Earl Grey too, taken without milk but accompanied by a slice of lemon. We also hear that Her Majesty enjoys taking tea in the afternoon, even brewing her own in a special kettle designed by Prince Philip.Regular garden parties are held at Buckingham Palace each year, which typically involve serving 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake to 8,000 guests – with the favorites of the Queen’s great-great-grandmother still on the menu.
Indubitably, tea remains one of the great things which unites us all. Who would you most like to share a cup with?