There's no ritual quite so quintessentially British as Afternoon Tea. Sipping tea from ornate china and nibbling on sandwiches and cakes, in a luxury hotel makes us feels like elegant ladies and gentlemen.
Well, afternoon tea, as we might imagine, was first had in Britain, by an aristocratic lady, in a country estate.
Lady Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford lived in Woburn Abbey the 19th century. In those days, people only had two meals, breakfast, and dinner, at 8 pm. whew! Lady Anna found that the time between her lunch and dinner was far too long. Whats a lady to do! So she started ordering tea and sandwiches and a small slice of cake to her boudoir in the late afternoon. Soon she sent cards to friends, inviting them to join her for "tea and a walking in the fields".
As the afternoon soiree gained popularity, it moved into the drawing room. Other society ladies also started to copy her. Soon, upper class ladies of the time would change into long gowns, hats, and gloves for tea in the drawing room, in the late afternoon.
So next time you go for tea in a luxury hotel drawing room, or even invite a few friends for a garden tea party, remember to get dressed in all your finery. You are in great company.