Afternoon tea is a wonderful ritual. Out come the delicate china teacups, the pretty glass sugar bowl, the vintage teapot passed down from one generation to the next.

Then – boiling water, the rising steam, the scent of Bergamot (accompanied by a little cool milk or slice of lemon), stirred with an antique silver teaspoon.

And the recipe for perfect afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without Battenburg, tiers of hot fresh scones, clotted cream, jam, and dainty triangles of cucumber sandwich. Delicious!

But have you ever wondered where the trend for afternoon tea came from? Who was the first person to drink tea in the afternoon? How did it become such an important part of British culture?

The first person to drink tea in the afternoon was the Duchess of Bedford, Lady Anna Maria Russell.

She introduced the habit of a light snack and tea drinking in the afternoon to British high society.

It was at the beginning of the 19th century. People generally ate only two meals a day – breakfast of ale, bread and beef – and a much later evening meal.

Around that time, Anna had complained of a “sinking feeling” during the

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