It is rumored, that the tradition of afternoon tea began with royalty over 150 years ago. Back in 1840 it was customary for people to take two meals a day; breakfast upon waking, and dinner at around 8 o' clock in the evening. The story goes, that due to the gap between meals, the seventh Duchess of Bedford's energy levels would wane in the late afternoon. The solution; a pot of tea, bread, butter and some cake to be served in her room at around 4 o clock. This soon developed into a daily ritual, and she began to invite friends to join her, thus transforming a simple snack into a social afternoon delight. My mum and I thought we'd follow suit, and headed for a royal afternoon tea at The Rubens hotel, in a rather regal location.
In honor of their location, The Rubens host Royal Afternoon Tea consisting of sandwiches, freshly baked scones and homemade pastries. All of which, are said to have derived from the personal preferences of members of the Royal Family throughout history. While I'm not sure if that is entirely true, I can tell you that afternoon tea at The Rubens is fit for a Queen!
Firstly, the staff are incredibly friendly, personable and all go to a great effort to get to know you and ensure that you are having a lovely time. Secondly, the food is delicious. Soft pillow-y bread full of light fillings such as cucumber and cream cheese, salmon and mayonnaise and egg and cress, warm freshly baked scones and pastries including passion fruit parfait, chocolate hazelnut tarts and jam pennies (said to be favored by The Queen herself) make up the menu that we tried. Whilst unsurprisingly traditional in their approach to afternoon tea, what makes The Rubens stand out is the fact that what they do, they do well. Which for me, makes all the difference.
Whether you're at Buckingham Palace to view the iconic daily Changing the Guard ceremony, there to behold an exciting event, such as the upcoming the State Opening of Parliament ceremony or Trooping the Colour, or just visiting, I would definitely recommend having royal day out and heading for tea at The Rubens. I can't imagine a more exciting place to enjoy this celebrated royal past time. With a front seat view to watch the procession make its way from The Royal Mews, to the front of Buckingham Palace, and beyond.
And when in London, one really ought to schedule in tea with The Queen!