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2015-12-11

THE HISTORY OF FIVE O'CLOCK

Today it seems natural for us to drink tea in the afternoon. Yet this European custom only dates back to the beginning of the 19th century.

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Today it seems natural for us to drink tea in the afternoon. Yet this European custom only dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. It was Anna Maria Stanhope, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and Marchioness of Tavistock (1788-1861) who invented afternoon tea. In her home at Woburn Abbey, the Duchess felt regularly peckish between lunch and dinner, which she described as: 'a sinking feeling'. This lady in waiting to Queen Victoria began to order tea in her boudoir and some light dishes to go with it; she then invited some friends to join her. The practice became widespread. In the 1840s traditional afternoon tea was adopted by the Court and has remained popular ever since.

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