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Tea Fit For A Queen

What’s the biggest and best birthday party you’ve ever been to? The Queen’s birthday weekend is going to be hard to beat, and we’re celebrating with fab birthday offers on tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Here you’ll find everything you need to prepare for Sunday’s tea party: from a spot of tea history, to advice on what to serve on the big day. 

A LITTLE HISTORY

The royals have always been trend-setters when it comes to tea. Legend has it that tea was originally discovered by the Chinese emperor Shen Nong in 2737 BC, and tea drinking was introduced to Britain by the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662.

Contrary to what you might think, the British took to tea drinking rather late in the day. The Portuguese and the Dutch first started importing tea from China in the early 17th century, and Catherine had grown used to a morning cuppa served by her ladies in waiting. Imagine her surprise when she first arrived on British shores to meet her future husband, Charles II. Exhausted from the journey, she called for a cup of tea and was offered a glass of bitter ale, the British breakfast drink of choice – she was shocked!

Luckily Catherine had brought along a chest of tea from Portugal, it didn’t take long for tea to start trending in the royal court. A couple of the more daring duchesses even tried the French fad of serving tea with milk, but it was thought rather uncouth. It wasn’t till half a century later that tea caught the imagination of the general public, when Queen Anne revealed that she preferred a morning cup of tea to a glass of ale, and by the mid 1700s tea was one of the East India Company’s main imports. For centuries, the country had spent the first half of the day sozzled. Tea changed all that, and soon Britannia was ruling the waves…

TEA BY NUMBERS

The queen turned 90 this year – according to our sources, she may well have enjoyed as many as 90,000 cups of tea over her lifetime. Let’s face it, it’s a royal duty.

We’re told she wakes up most mornings at 7:30 on the dot, when she’s brought a tray laden with a silver teapot, a water jug, milk, and a plate of biscuits for the corgis. Biscuits at breakfast! Now that’s decadent.

Following the example of Queen Victoria, every summer the queen holds three tea parties in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. A typical tea party, for roughly 8000 guests will serve a whopping 27,000 cups of tea 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake. Yes, you’ve heard right. That’s:

 

 

Gosh.

 

THE BIG BIRTHDAY WEEKEND

 

If you thought those yearly tea parties were big, just wait for the supersize tea party being staged this Sunday. The run up starts on Friday, when the Queen will attend a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, and the celebrations kick off on Saturday with the Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday parade. From 10am, crowds will gather to see the Queen and the royal family ride in carriages down The Mall on their way to Horse Guards Parade – the Queen will then inspect soldiers from the Household Division. Don’t expect any muddy shoes or moth-eaten bearskin hats – the horses will be prancing and swords will be shining…

 

 

And that’s all leading up to the main tea-drinking event on the Sunday – a tea party up and down The Mall, with tables for 10,000 people! All 10,000 tickets have now sold out, but birthday tea parties will be held in back gardens and high streets across the country. To celebrate, we’re offering ‘buy one get one half price on tea, coffee and hot chocolate, so stop by before the weekend to prepare!

 

Regal Tea

A black tea blended with Madagascan vanilla, scattered with petals in union jack colours!

 

Guatemala Elephant[MB1] [MB2] [MB3] 

Will Queen Elizabeth be arriving by elephant? We’re not sure, but we’ll be serving our jumbo Guatemalan coffee just in case…

 

 

60% Cocoa Flaked Drinking Chocolate

Have you tried our flaked drinking chocolate recipes? Crown the occasion with our famous giant cupcake

 

We’ll be bringing out the best china (have you met Lucy yet?), piling plates high with biscuits (the Queen of Hearts has a taste for shortbread ), and serving scones with our tea-infused jam. Let the celebrations begin!

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