Tea With The Queens Of England

england tea

england tea

Have you ever wanted to take tea with the queens of England?  This party celebrates four Queens who ruled England, honoring each with her own table, where guests are served tea and refreshments going back to the time of her reign. Guests move from table to table in a slow, stately version of musical chairs. Every half hour, the hostess announces, in her most royal herald-like voice, “All rise, please, in honor of her Majesty the Queen of England. Please be so kind as to take your cup and find a seat at the next table on your right.”

 

For decorations, feel free pull to out all the stops: velvet over windows and doorways, lace and brocade, gold paper doilies, your finest linens, silver, and china. Print out a picture of each queen (see website links below) and stand it on her table in a pretty frame. Drape each queen’s “throne” with rich fabric or velvet ribbon. Make a sign to put on the seat, held in place by a child’s dress-up crown. Each queen’s sign gives her name, the years she reigned, and the menu for her table, printed in an elegant script font.  

 

Some musical choices fit for a queen:

  • English Renaissance or baroque music (look for William Byrd or Henry Purcell)

  • The “Masterpiece Theater” theme, (Jean-Joseph Mouret’s “Rondeau” from Symphonies and Fanfares for the King’s Supper)

  • Music for court dances, with names like Pavan and Gavotte

 

Arrange four royal tables in a wide arc, with one for each Queen as follows:

 

Elizabeth I (1558–1603)

Find her picture at http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/tudor_9.htm

When Elizabeth ruled, tea was not yet drunk in England, but roses grew by the acre. Sugar was a rare spice. Use doilies to make lacy ruffles around dishes, echoing the ruffled collars worn by men and women of her court.

Menu:

  • Rose hip tea with honey
  • Cheese and onion tarts: For a medieval touch, add nutmeg, cloves, and raisins.
  • Apples in wine sauce & cream: Boil peeled apples slices in red wine spiced with ginger and lemon peel. Serve them on a platter drizzled with warm cream, sweetened with honey.
  • Almond pastries

 

Anne (1707–1714)

Find her picture at http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/stuart_8.htm

The European rage for tea reached England just as Anne became Queen. All tea came from China in those days, and most of it was green tea, which the English drank with sugar and milk. If you have Queen Anne-style tables or chairs, with graceful curved legs ending in small feet, use them here. Place vivid tulips in a china vase at this table.

Menu:

  • Green tea (with sugar and milk, for the adventurous)
  • Classic scones and fruit breads, with butter and cream cheese spreads.

 

Victoria (1837–1901)

Find her picture at http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/hanover_6.htm

Indian tea came into its own during Victoria’s reign, while afternoon tea became a national institution. She even had a tea cake named after her: the “Victoria sandwich” or “Victoria sponge.” It consisted of two layers of sponge cake separated by jam or a soft cream filling. Potted flowers were in every parlor in those days, so use them to decorate this queen’s table. Layer flowery handkerchiefs, placemats, old lace runners and new doilies over a tablecloth for a cozy Victorian look.

Menu:

  • Indian tea (look for Assam, Darjeeling, or Ceylon tea) with sugar, honey, milk, or lemon
  • Victoria sponge cake
  • Cucumber sandwiches on thinly sliced, buttered bread, with no crusts

 

Elizabeth II (1952-present)

Find her picture at http://worldroots.com/brigitte/gifs/queenelizabeth66.jpg The biggest change in tea during Elizabeth’s reign has been the tea bag revolution. Take advantage of it to offer a variety of flavors and varieties of tea at this queen’s table, displayed on a handsome tray or platter. She rules in a world of readymade delicacies, so use convenience foods to prepare the dishes on her table.

Menu:

  • Assorted teas, with sugar, honey, milk, or lemon
  • Imported English crackers spread with soft, aged cheese
  • Avocado and watercress sandwiches on whole wheat toast points
  • Packaged cookies and shortbread
  • Glazed fruit tarts

 

Choose an appropriate tea that will work with each of the tables.  I suggest British Bliss as it is a hearty tea that will work well with nearly all the menus.  If you want a dessert tea I suggest trying Dark Chocolate Decadence which will pair well with a fruit tart.

 

How To Host A Downton Abbey Tea Party

Downton Abbey Tea Party

 

Downton Abbey Tea Party

 

Downton Abbey fans rejoice!  Season four is right around the corner. (January 5th 2014 in the U.S.)  You can celebrate the series by  hosting your own Downton Abbey Tea Party.  Here are a few suggestions but be sure to leave comments and share your own plans. (because I know many of you are already getting ready)

Theme:  Season 4 of Downton takes place in the early 1920′s (specifically 1922-1923).  This was the era of worldwide recovery.  The first world war was over and the youth who survived were ready to let their hair down, throw off tradition and change the world.  The easiest way to develop a tea party theme is to research the era in which your event happened.

Here are a few significant things that happened in the 1920′s Britain:

1. Women lecturers are given equal status as men at Oxford University.  This is a huge step in beginning to prove women’s equality in the workplace.  (Women had gained the right to vote in the UK in 1918.)

2. The Irish War of Independence ends in a bloody battle the day after the Irish Elections. (remember one of the main characters in Downton Abbey is Irish.)  This ongoing struggle continues for many years and results in a great loss of life.

3.  The British Broadcasting Service begins radio services in the U.K.  Touching the world is now as close as turning a dial on a new fangled radio.

4. Early 1922 is plagued by the flu epidemic claiming over 800 lives and terrifying the nation.

5.  In 1923 the Equal Rights act enables women as well as men to initiate divorce.  This opens the door for women to divorce their adulterous husbands for the first time in history.  Another sign that the times are a changing.

6. King Tut’s Tomb is unsealed and Britain is crazy about everything Egyptian!

7. In 1923 it becomes illegal to sell alcohol to minors under 18.

8.  The new Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, takes office.

 

The Downton Abbey story line connects all walks of life into one cohesive story.  Your guests may be interested to learn “inside secrets” regarding the world of Downton.  You can find a variety of trivia and games online.  Here are a few resources you might enjoy.

 Downton Abbey Tea Party

Trivia Games , Quotes and Activities:

 

Trivia – Downton Abbey

10 Little Known Downton Abbey Facts

Abbey Quiz

Downton Abbey Quotes

 Downton Abbey Tea Party

 

Menu:

Food is always a center focus of the Downton Abbey program.  Win your guests over by preparing an authentic Downton Abbey menu.   May I suggest using the Ultimate Abbey Cooks Online resource.  This website has everything you need to know about Tea Party tradition along with historically correct recipes.

Here are a few of the foods I would recommend for your Downton Abbey Tea Party

Cucumber Sandwiches

Classic English Scones

Oatcakes

Victoria Sponge

Bakewell Tart

Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse

And what about tea?  I recommend using a hearty black tea that will stand up to the taste of every food.  British Bliss is available on Amazon and I highly recommend it for any Downton Abbey menu.  The hearty taste of Keemun will pair well with both sweet and savory dishes.

Downton-Abbey4

Give a Gift Of Favors:

The goal of every Downton Abbey Tea Party is to enjoy your common interest, discuss the great costumes, story lines and food and then depart with a little something special.  Pinterest is a veritable goldmine for party ideas.  Here are a couple of my favorite boards.

 

Downton Abbey Party Board

Party Ideas Board

 

In addition Etsy has alot of wonderful printables which could be used for party favors.  Here is a whole page of Downton Abbey tools, toys and gift ideas.

 

Etsy – Downton Abbey

Etsy – Downton Abbey Printable

 

Last but not least the CLOTHES:  Downton is all about looking fabulous!  Invite your guests to come dressed in their favorite ode to Downton.  This can be a full ensemble or a simple hat or headpiece.  Offer a prize for the best hat, best dress and most creative use of the Downton Abbey theme.  You will be amazed at the creativity of your guests.

DowntonAbbey2

 

Tea Party Girl Asks:  What are your Downton Abbey Tea Party Plans?  Share them below in our comment box or join in the conversation on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Tea Inspired Holiday Themes

holiday-theme-party

Need a new Christmas tea party idea?  Here are my top 7 favorite Christmas tea party concepts.  Read them, pick one and then DO IT!  We would love to see photos so be ready to share them with our readers.  :)

Tea and Trimmings

The Tea and Trimmings theme is designed for your immediate family and/ or close friends.  Tea and Trimmings sets the stage for your holiday celebration to begin.

Concept:  Family, decorate house, fill house with music and tea.

IDEAS:

  1. Send invites to family whether it is in the mail or under the door
  2. Trimming the tree- could include finding, cutting or buying or ornament decorating
  3. Tell story of Christmas or Holiday traditions over a 3 course meal.
  4. Stringing popcorn or making a paper chain.
  5. Give a special holiday ornament to remember your day.

 

 

Solace Tea

A Solace Tea is the perfect juncture between Christmas and New Years.  This theme is designed as a solitary tea or a tea for one or two close friends or your spouse.  A Solace Tea is a tea of reflection and new beginnings.

Concept:  Meditation, reflection, goals re-visited.

IDEAS:

  1. Perfect for quiet evening or afternoon-find a special place in home
  2. Set table for 1 of 2 –candles, beautiful items rarely used, fireplace, set mood.
  3. Small gift for guest and yourself for Christmas 2011
  4. Spend time journaling, praying, talking heart to heart-Book of Questions
  5. Bring the tea to elderly friend or new mom- pack tea basket.

 

 

Open House Tea

An Open House Tea is the perfect way to enjoy your friends during a season of busy schedules.

Concept:  Drop in 11-5 or 2-7.  3 courses-substantial.  Come in from the holiday shopping.  Only 10-30 members.

IDEAS:

  1. Give special Xmas card to guests.  Personal message.
  2. Conversation cards- draw one from a stocking:  My Christmas Wish,  In 2012 I hope to …..
  3. Decorate living room with pillows as packages- baskets of fruit with ribbons
  4. Picture of guest with you by the tree- put on a card holder
  5. Fill coffee table with food or entrance table

 

 

Victorian Christmas Card Tea

Start a new holiday tradition with a Victorian Christmas Card Tea.  Enjoy your friends and accomplish a task at the same time!

Concept:

IDEAS:

  1. Decorate dining chairs with ribbons, bows, organza, veiling
  2. Fill table with supplies
  3. Provide cards and stamps?  Guests bring 15 addresses
  4. Can be a pot luck tea party
  5. Buffet is best- Christmas boxes for levels.

 

 

The Gift of Tea

Forget about the cookie exchange or white elephant gifts!  Start a tea cup trade!  Your friends will look forward to it each and every year!

Concept:  1 ½ hour tops.  Can be dessert only.

IDEAS:

  1. Bring a teacup wrapped
  2. Conversation cards relating to holidays and holiday traditions, goals, memories
  3. Plan and extra cup or two just in case
  4. Draw numbers to choose packages
  5. Have giver tell story of cup.  Write on a card and pass out to recipient.

 

Twinkling Tea

A Twinkling Tea is a perfect way to celebrate New Years or Christmas Eve in style.  A Twinkling Tea combines the formality of afternoon tea with the sights and sounds of the holidays.

Concept:  Formal

IDEAS:

  1. Dress Up – Hold at table or living room
  2. Candlelight, twinkle lights and dim lights
  3. 4 tea sandwiches, scone, holiday breads, mini desserts (tarts,etc.)
  4. Sparkling cider and champagne??  Toasts to the future and past
  5. Conversation and games – Traditional parlor games??  OR Trivia Pursuit past 20

A Thanksgiving Tea Party

thanksgiving tea party

Thanksgiving Tea Party

Thanksgiving Tea Party?  Am I crazy?

This article is a Tea Party 101.  It very simply shows you how inviting an unfussy tea party can be.  Thanksgiving and the weekend after can be a great time to gather those you love and unwind a bit.  Why not give it a go!  At the end of this article I have included a link to an awesome Crockpot Chai Tea recipe that I discovered on a recent blog search.  I think you will love it.

 

A Thanksgiving Tea Party : It’s All In The Details

When we think about tea parties, it is easy to imagine the British high society in a Victorian era setting, enjoying an elegant affair. For some, tea parties are a synonym for classy get-togethers. And, yes, with time, they evolved into more elegant, refined gatherings. However, in England (the birthplace of tea parties), tea time was made widely popular by the working class, that took a moment in the late afternoon to enjoy their evening supper. Tea parties can be as elegant as you want them to be, or as laid-back as you want them to be.  It’s all in the little details.

Tea just happens to be an extraordinary little detail.  (try the recipe link at the bottom of the page!)

When we think about Thanksgiving Day, a special occasion comes to mind. For tea enthusiasts, it is a perfect opportunity to host a tea party. A Thanksgiving tea party needn’t be an extremely elegant affair. Just the right amount of detail, can give your tea party the delicate touch to make it the memorable, special party you want for an important holiday.

The Thanksgiving Day tea party should be scheduled, as other formal afternoon tea parties, between 2PM and 6PM. After the invitations are sent, purchase the tea and related accessories you’ll need for your celebration. As tea party meals are usually light, afternoon snacks; you can choose to make bite-sized versions of traditional favorites, remembering to include the classic desserts! When the food is ready, remember to decorate your tables with your best table cloths, pretty flowers, and your china or silver tea pots and accessories.

Placing a variety of teas in a tea chest is an elegant and practical way to offer options to your guests when serving tea. It is important to include different tea flavors, and popular choices for afternoon tea are: Earl Grey (a classic favorite), mint (a refreshing flavor), raspberry (or other berries), and lemon. Nevertheless, some tea brands offer special, seasonal treats; a popular autumn flavor is pumpkin spice tea, that can blend in perfectly with your Thanksgiving Day tea party!

A Thanksgiving tea party is a great, unique way to celebrate. You don’t need much to prepare it, as it is all in the little details you want to share with your guests. Tea is one of those little details that can make the celebration a special one.

thanksgiving tea party

 

http://www.barnsandnoodles.com/crockpot-pumpkin-chai-tea/

Six Possible Party Themes for your Autumn Event

Fall events

Digging through the Tea Party Girl archives I found this great article from our founder, Jenny Wells.

Take a peek and get inspired!

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Autumn is notoriously a busy time. Maybe we feel we need to make up for summer slothfulness, or something. We prep for the holidays, plan retreats and seminars, play sports (soccer moms, anyone?), try to tackle house projects before the winter comes, and teach our children well. So, my criteria for a fall (so sorry, I mean AUTUMN) event is that everyone can help and we need to keep it simple.

I modified this list with some help from the following list from some of my favorite party planning books, including:

  1. Bless This Food:Four Seasons of Menus, Recipes, and Table Graces
  2. Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions:Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy
  3. The Family Manager Takes Charge: Getting on the Fast Track to a Happy, Organized Home
  • Parisian Art Night-I learned November 14th is Claude Monet’s birthday. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can learn about French Impressionism and share a favorite painting. I would ask everyone to bring a French-related food (everyone’s at least heard of Brie, right?), download music from composers of the era, and buy a few bottles of Champagne from my favorite discount store, Trader Joe’s
  • Everyone’s Birthday-Instead of another gift exchange and dessert at the holidays, I would choose a night for “us” (whomever your group might be) for an Everyone’s Birthday night. Everyone brings a decent gift (set a price limit) wrapped. Depending on the size of the group, look for bakers or purchase a few fancy cakes. Serve coffee, tea, and maybe even port (yum!) and celebrate everyone at once.
  • Advent-Do the holidays stress you out? Does Christmas mean a lot of responsibility? How about an Advent party to prepare? I will host mine on November 30th. For my social group, we do a project together that helps us feel more prepared (i.e. address Christmas cards, make an Advent wreath, etc.) and watch a holiday movie to help get us in the mood.
  • Harvest-A common Autumn theme, I like to plan mine outside when the weather is first changing. Invite everyone to wear their favorite sweater and find a patio with a fire-pit. Light lanterns or another adult version of jack-0-lanterns and celebrate life’s fullness. If you can get everyone organized, this is a great theme for a book, clothing, or other exchange where you can share your abundance in some way with others.
  • Friendly Competition-This is a theme that women might wrinkle their noses at, but enjoy once the ball gets rolling (no pun intended). We’re great at sitting, gabbing, and eating, but consider a night of friendly competition over ping-pong, pool, fooz-ball, etc., with a tournament tree and all. Only finger-food eaten out of a napkin allowed.
  • Pasta Potluck-Carb-lovers, unite! Make a ton of pasta and ask people to bring their favorite sauce. Serve garlic bread, wine, and maybe a salad. Enjoy the insulin rush together.

 

Of course, all of the above parties need to include tea, if for no other reason than to invite this wonderful beverage who has been often discriminated against in the past.

What autumn event will you plan or attend?

Share it with Tea Party Girl – Leave A Comment Please!