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In the 18th century, it was Anna, Duchess of Bedford, lady in waiting and friend of Queen Victoria, who realized that a small snack consisting of tea, cakes and/or small sandwiches could satisfy the appetite until to the late dinner of 8 p.m. She started the tradition by regularly inviting her friends to Woburn Abbey during the summer. Back in London, she popularized tea time among members of British high society by sending them cards urging them to join her for “a tea and a walk.”  This is how afternoon tea was. 

 

Then, in the 19th century, afternoon tea in different forms (high tea, low tea, etc.) became part of the day for the entire population, regardless of class, and became Five O'Clock Tea.

 

Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth II never left Buckingham Palace without her kettle and a box of Fortnum & Mason. May she rest in peace ♡

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