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Afternoon tea was invented by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. In her day, the upper crust ate a huge breakfast, little lunch, and a very late dinner. Every afternoon, the duchess experienced a "sinking feeling." One afternoon she instructed her servants to serve tea and little cakes in her boudoir. The experience was so delightful that Anna repeated it every afternoon thereafter. Soon others followed the Duchess' lead, and in just a few decades the custom of "taking tea" in the afternoon had become well established. At first the practice was limited to the upper classes, but it eventually became so popular that tea shops and tea-rooms began opening for the enjoyment of the general public.
There is no better place to enjoy this wonderful English tradition than at The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in the world renowned department store Fortnum and Mason. The store was founded in 1707 by William Fortnum, one of Queen Anne's footmen. During the 1700's Fortnum and Mason made a name for itself by selling rare teas and spices, not available anywhere else, much like today. Fortnum and Mason has held a number of Royal Warrants over the years, which are reviewed every ten year and still hold the following Royal Warrants: 'Grocers & Provision Merchants' by appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 'Tea Merchants and Grocers' by appointment to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and 'Suppliers of Leather and Fancy Goods' by appointment o H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The store offers a wide variety of luxury goods, but is possibly best known for its luxury food hall with rare delicacies and teas.
The best place to sample traditional Afternoon Tea must be The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. You will be treated to a fine selection of teas, luxury and traditional sandwiches, pastries and of course a selection of scones with clotted cream and preserves.
On March 1st 2012, the refurbished St James’s restaurant was opened by HM the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, and renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. You will be treated to a fine selection of teas, luxury and traditional sandwiches, pastries and of course a selection of scones with clotted cream and preserves