Welcome to our tea party!
I'm delighted you could join us. Let me pour you a cup of tea. Milk? Sugars? Please help yourself to sandwiches.
Since my protagonist, Jillian Bradley, enjoys afternoon tea as often as possible, I thought I'd share how and where it all began.
According to Twinings, afternoon tea, a quintessentially English tradition, is rumoured to date all the way back to 1662 when Catherine of Braganza, King Charles II of England's Portuguese wife, introduced tea to the royal court. But the afternoon tea menu, as we have come to know and love it, took quite a while to develop.
|By the late 1830s - early 1840s afternoon tea was evolving to
become a social occasion and it's even hinted at in an unfinished
Jane Austen novel from 1804,The Watsons. |
The Duchess of Bedford was a close friend of Queen Victoria and a prominent figure within London society at the time. She requested that light sandwiches, tea and cake be brought to her in the late afternoon because she had a 'sinking feeling' due to the long gap between meals.
Over time, she started to invite close confidantes to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, to exchange news and stories over tea and light refreshments, and gradually these kinds of afternoon teas became a tradition. (This is where Jillian Bradley picks up the tradition!)
Other social hostesses quickly picked up on the idea and the practice became respectable enough to move it into the drawing room. This pause for tea became a fashionable social event. During the 1880s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o'clock.
Nowadays, we may only dress up for tea on special occasion, but I've been to tea shops that provide hats, just in case you want to! And look at us now - we enjoy afternoon tea together on Tea Party Tuesday at Queen of Afternoon Tea!
I hope you'll get my free copy of "Murder in Half Moon Bay" (if you haven't already downloaded it) and begin the series filled with afternoon tea and adventure.
All Jillian Bradley wants is to spend a quiet weekend by the ocean and enjoy her afternoon tea. But a startling discovery draws Jillian and her garden club friends into solving a mystery that threatens her life and changes her future.
'Murder in Half Moon Bay,' Book 1 in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series, introduces Jillian's little companion 'Teddy,' a Yorkie who falls prey to danger but rises to become a sleuth dog in the next book.