England Copied Its Teatime Customs from Queen Catherine of Braganza
From Kate Middleton’s wedding dress to Princess Di’s hairdo, England’s royal family is known for setting trends. But as Great Big Story’s video below shows us, these social crazes haven’t always been fashion-related. One of them—drinking tea—even evolved into bona fide cultural heritage.
In 1662, Catherine of Braganza, a wealthy noblewoman from Portugal, married England's King Charles II. The union made Catherine Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland—and she brought with her a vast dowry of money, treasures, and spices.
Catherine’s arsenal of exotic riches also included packets of loose-leaf tea. According to legend, the new queen transported the beverage to England in crates labeled Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (Transport of Aromatic Herbs)—later abbreviated to T.E.A.
The queen so enjoyed drinking tea from china teacups that others began imitating her. Soon, the elaborate ritual of drinking tea in the afternoon became an obsession among Britons. Learn more about how teatime evolved from a royal custom into a pastime for the masses by watching Great Big Story’s video below.