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Tea and Queen Victoria – Royal Central

Tea and Queen Victoria – Royal Central

Queen Victoria is for a lot of, synonymous with the notion of afternoon tea, in all probability because the social ceremony turned correctly established through the later years of her reign. The Queen’s evident love of tea, nevertheless, reaches back a lot further than this elegant ritual. Indeed, the word happens 7,587 occasions in the numerous typescripts or edited copies of her journal, proving it was part of her routine, turning into ever extra necessary as she grew older. It additionally turned a daily behavior on lots of her outside excursions, as her sketches and numerous engravings, affirm.

The primary mention of tea occurs in the journal of the thirteen-year-old Princess Victoria on 18 August 1832, at Beaumaris, Anglesey, in her slanting, elegant hand. It is persistently mentioned afterwards, however apparently, the figures leap up into the two a whole lot in 1867, having doubled between 1864 and 1865 from 64 to 129 mentions. Perhaps significantly, within the years of her marriage (1840-1861), Queen Victoria mentions it underneath ten occasions a yr, for instance, in 1850, when it occurred only as soon as. The widowed Queen in all probability sought the same consolation in her drinks, as she evidently did in her food. Unsurprisingly, probably the most mentions of tea occurs at Balmoral, the place she typically enjoyed having it made up outdoor, over a range. An fascinating reality is that her ‘tea’ overwhelmingly is taken together with her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice.

An aged Queen Victoria sat working outdoors, 1890s (Hills and Saunders [United States Public domain or Public domain])

Our picture of the Queen at work within the tents she invariably had set up beneath timber is an enduring one. On these events, the aged Victoria can be seated, often with an Indian servant in attendance, surrounded by her official packing containers and different trustworthy companions, specifically her household of cups, espresso pots and teapots (Annie Grey, The Grasping Queen, 289). The variety of cups is defined by one among her favorite grandchildren, Victoria, Princess Louis of Battenberg, who wrote in her personal reminiscences: ‘For breakfast and tea Grandmama used two special cups and would pour the tea from one into the opposite to chill it’ (cit., David Duff, Hessian Tapestry, 271).

Another royal supply that confirmed this was German Princess Louis of Battenberg’s sister-in-law, Marie of Battenberg, later Princess zu Erbach-Schönberg: ‘She drank her tea and occasional after it had been poured from one cup to another to cool it. On this account, she had all the time several cups in front of her…’ (cit., Reminiscences, pp. 236-237). Slightly fascinatingly, the granddaughter of Victoria, Princess Louis of Battenberg, The Woman Brabourne, remembered that her grandmother, Princess Louis of Battenberg, knew how one can delight a toddler by making ‘a doll’s teaset from acorns’ (cit., ed. Richard Hough, Advice to a Granddaughter, IX).

In her personal memoir, written down much later in 1872, Queen Victoria mused of her taking her bread and milk as a toddler in a small silver basin, including: ‘Tea was solely allowed as a terrific deal with in later years’ (cit., A. C. Benson and Viscount Esher, The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Choice of Her Majesty’s Correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861, pp. 11-13).

Queen Victoria had as a toddler, acquired a toddler’s tea set from her beloved aunt, the Duchess of Clarence, later Queen Adelaide (Gray, 15). Fittingly, her well-known doll’s home, which survives at Kensington Palace, had, in fact, its own simplified Regency eating room, set for tea (Ibid, 15). The doll’s home (c. 1825-35) is surprisingly modest for a royal baby however might nicely mirror her austere childhood at Kensington Palace. Two tea cups are set out within the higher room of the doll’s home, white with inexperienced decorations. Little chairs are gathered around the tea-table. Incidentally, a porcelain cup and saucer survives within the Museum of London, stated to have been used by Princess Victoria at the tea-parties held for her at Kensington Palace (Deirdre Murphy, The Younger Victoria, 102). Later, a miniature portrait of the aged and white-veiled Queen Victoria, 2.1 x 1.7 inches excessive and in a silver body, discovered its approach into another doll’s home, in this case, Queen Mary’s Doll’s Home.

Later, Queen Victoria gave a beloved granddaughter, Princess Alix of Hesse, the longer term Tsarina of Russia, a tea set for her twenty-second birthday, in 1894. This tea set survives, remarkably and is preserved within the State Museum for Ethnography, St Petersburg, though several of the items at the moment are missing (Elizabeth Jane Timms, Princess Alix of Hesse’s Go to to Harrogate, in Royalty Digest Quarterly, 2018/1, 41). Somewhat endearingly, even the Queen’s sterling silver picnic spoons, which perhaps additionally stirred tea once in a while, had crowns on their tops, complete with the royal monogram; her biographer, Elizabeth, Woman Longford, owned one (Elizabeth Longford, Queen Victoria, 11).

Nor did the Queen confine her consuming of scorching drinks to easily tea. Princess Marie, Princess zu Erbach-Schönberg tells us that ‘the Queen had many German methods – for instance, she favored to soak cake, and issues of that sort, in her coffee, which in England is completely forbidden…’ (cit., Princess Marie of Battenberg, 237). Another granddaughter, Queen Marie of Roumania, remembered in the first quantity of her memoirs, The Story of My Life (1934) that breakfasting with the Queen would mean experiencing ‘a scrumptious perfume of espresso…’ (cit., Grey, 289).

Queen Victoria discovered the coffee in Germany ‘wonderful’ (cit., Ibid, 224) and the Queen’s grandson-in-law, the longer term Tsar Nicholas II, repeatedly described driving to Frogmore with the Queen and Princess Alix of Hesse, his fiancée, the place that they had coffee or tea (Andrei Maylunas and Sergei Mironenko, A Lifelong Passion, pp. 75-79).

True to her Georgian ancestry, she also enjoyed scorching chocolate, consuming it with Prince Albert’s elder brother Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Gray, 224). Her great-great-grandfather, King George II, died at Kensington Palace on the morning of 25 October 1760, having enjoyed his ordinary chocolate at seven o’clock (Lucy Worsley, Courtiers, 315). His beloved spouse, Queen Caroline, had drunk her most popular recipe of chocolate, containing a touch of brandy.

Many little buildings on the royal estates turned associated with the Queen’s breakfasting or tea-taking. The Garden Cottage at Balmoral was one such place, the place the Queen loved having breakfast outdoor on the veranda (Delia Millar, Queen Victoria’s Life within the Scottish Highlands, 133). Queen Victoria especially liked a favourite alcove on the terrace at Osborne as a place for breakfast, the place she might benefit from the nice scent of jasmine, orange blossoms and roses from the close by pergola (Michael Turner, Osborne House, 24). A delightful watercolour by the Queen is inscribed ‘From where I took my Tea [at] Osborne’, dated August 1869.

At Frogmore gardens, which the Queen tremendously beloved, was the Georgian Gothic Break, whose neo-Tudor-decorated inside she used either as a breakfast or reading room (Royal Collection Enterprises, Frogmore House and the Royal Mausoleum, 39) and of course, her brick and tiled Gothic teahouse in the south-eastern corner of the gardens, where the Queen had a tent put up in the summertime months (Ibid, 37). Queen Victoria even made an enthralling watercolour, in all probability in a tent, of her Tea House at Frogmore, dated 1 & 10 July 1872 ‘[b]egan July 1. completed July 10. 1872’. She took tea with the Duchess of Sutherland, her Mistress of the Robes, in the idyllic, riverside Spring Cottage at Cliveden and apparently, with the Cliveden housekeeper, having pushed over from Windsor (Grey, 291).

Queen Victoria launched tea to her garden events from the 1860s onwards. She took tea in her tent for her Garden Get together on 28 June 1897 at Buckingham Palace, for the Golden Jubilee.

Other events for tea-making have been invariably outdoors, whether or not on bracing excursions within the Scottish Highlands or alongside the street within the South of France. In Scotland, this often took the type of a journey from Balmoral after which sat down for lunch, where some outside picnic or refreshment can be loved from a pleasing outlook, appropriate for sketching.

One such instance is a pencil drawing by the Queen of a man brewing tea in a rural Highland setting. The inscription within the Queen’s sketchbook is just: ‘Tea – Making, Oct: 13 – 1864 – ‘. An amusing occasion was a sudden snowstorm in Glen Beg. The Queen captured the scene within the mid-1860s when herself and two of the princesses have been caught in a sudden flurry of snow; in her sketch, the royal social gathering sits shuddering beneath umbrellas, whilst a man in Highland gown shortly makes prepared a stove for tea. Another was when the artist Carl Haag was making a picture of the Queen, ultimately to develop into ‘Corrie Buie’ (1865), displaying the Queen together with her daughters, Princesses Helena and Louise and the Highland ghillies John Brown and John Grant. The unlucky artist was sat within the pouring rain on the hillside close to Ballochbuie forest, because the Queen got here to take her tea on the hillside with Princess Helena and the Dowager Duchess of Athole. The royal social gathering despatched the dampened painter a cup of tea to fortify him (Millar, 122).

Movingly, the final mentions of tea within the Queen’s (edited) journals occur at Osborne, where the once energetic entries have turn into as weary and sinking, as the Queen’s own quickly declining health. Prince Albert had equally, taken ‘tea’ and dry rusks over the past days of his sickness at Windsor in 1861; simply days earlier than he died, Queen Victoria recorded him having hen tea, in all probability for medicinal purposes, like beef tea.

The Queen’s ‘tea’ shortly earlier than her dying had as an alternative turn into nothing more than depressing arrowroot with milk (Millar, 142), which touchingly though, she continued to call ‘tea‘. Even the milk changed, from a drop of whisky in the milk to lastly, warm milk (A. N. Wilson, Victoria, pp. 567-568). It was as if the Queen was turning into a toddler again, on liquid food, recalling her earliest reminiscences of bread and milk in a silver basin, when very younger. Sadly, for a Queen who had so liked her tea, her final ever journal entry – Sunday 13 January 1901 – recorded only a drink of milk (Gray, 303).

The good journal started in 1832, finally came to an finish. Princess Beatrice’s handwriting (in pink ink) data beneath that this was the final entry in the Queen’s journal before her demise. Queen Victoria died at Osborne on 22 January 1901.

Tea, then, had been a continuing companion to Queen Victoria for life, trustworthy, going all over the place together with her, like her canine.

©Elizabeth Jane Timms, 2019