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Encyclopedia > Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford

Anna Maria Stanhope (3 September 1783 - 3 July 1857), the Duchess of Bedford of Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, was the originator of the afternoon tea ritual in 19th century England. Anna Maria was the daughter of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, and June Fleming. She became the wife of Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford. September 3 is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years). ... 1783 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Bedford is the county town of the English county of Bedfordshire. ... The west front of Woburn Abbey, as seen approaching the house Woburn Abbey, the seat of the head of the Russell Family, the Duke of Bedford, was a sad half-demolished, half-derelict house in 1953 after the death of the heavily indebted 12th Duke. ... Bedfordshire is a county in England and forms part of the East of England region. ... Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington (17 March 1753 - 5 September 1829) was a son of William Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Harrington and Lady Caroline Fitzroy. ... The Most Noble Sir Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford KG PC MA (May 13, 1788–May 14, 1861) was the son of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford. ...


During the 18th century, dinner was served at a gradually later and later time until by the early 1800s, the normal time was between 7:00 and 8:30 pm and an extra meal called luncheon had been created to fill the midday gap. But since this new meal was very light, the long afternoon with no refreshment at all left people feeling rather hungry. So eventually Anna Maria began asking her maid to bring all the tea making equipment to her private boudoir (the Blue Drawing Room at Woburn Abbey) at 4 o'clock so that the Duchess could enjoy a cup of tea with a slice or two of bread and butter. She found this afternoon tea such a perfect refreshment that she soon started inviting her friends to join her in her room for this new social event. (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Dinner is a term with several meanings. ... Lunch is a meal that is taken at noon or in the early afternoon. ... A boudoir is a ladys private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room. ...


Eventually, the growing middle class imitated the rich and found that tea was a very economical way of entertaining several friends without having to spend too much money, and afternoon tea quickly became the norm.


 
 

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