A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Things to Remember When Having Tea with the Queen

Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea! We are off visiting and am unsure of internet access, but Tuesday Cuppa Tea it's still time for a tea party!

As I am out of town...I thought for a different sort of Tuesday Cuppa Tea it would be fun to pass on this great blog post on the Tea Blog from 2012 called 
10 Things to Remember When Having Tea with the Queen of England 

because Buckingham Palace Garden party season starts next month....

10 Things to Remember When Having Tea with the Queen of England

Dating from the days of Queen Victoria of England, afternoon garden tea parties with over 8,000 guests each have been given annually at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II carrying on the tradition even today. It’s an occasion for wearing nice dresses and suits, white cotton gloves, and even hats. But what if you were to have a private tea time with Her Royal Highness? There are at least ten things to remember at such a time.
1 Dress appropriately.
You don’t have to go out and spends hundreds or thousands of dollars on an outfit. Just wear something nice, not too revealing, and rather tame in coloration. Flame red or eye-popping orange are best for other, more lively, and less solemn occasions, such as celebrating that bunion removal.
2 Don’t gawk.
You’re quite likely to see some very lovely things at Buckingham Palace as you are escorted from the main entrance to the Queen’s private sitting room. If you walk along behind your escort with your head tilted up, your eyes bugging out, and your mouth hanging open, not only will you look like a total Cretin, but you will quite likely bump into something or trip over something or run into your escort and knock her/him over. Not an auspicious beginning to any tea time, especially one in such regal surroundings.
3 Know the proper form of greeting.
First, keep in mind that no one sits while the Queen is standing. Not sure why, but just keep it in mind. (Note: Those in wheelchairs are, naturally, exempted from this rule.) When introduced, a slight bow or curtsy is sufficient (no need to overdo it, as some folks in the news lately have done, and bow half bent over or curtsy to the ground) and a simple “Your Majesty” or “Your Royal Highness” will suffice. She will extend her hand (a good thing you didn’t indulge in those sticky candies on the ride over), and you accept with a light touch, then let go (no stand-up arm wrestling, vigorous arm pumping, or gorilla handshakes here). You’ll usually all sit then (the Queen first) and chat a bit.
4 Keep the conversation light.
She will usually introduce a topic for discussion. That way you won’t bring up something she has no knowledge of. It’s not nice to show up the Queen with your superior knowledge of moths or collecting Matchbox cars or the intricacies of modern-day plumbing. And remember that what you talk about with Her Majesty is just between the two of you. No running to blab to the tabloids.
5 Decide up front how you want your tea.
The Queen as hostess will most likely pour the tea, or possibly an attendant will. Either way, the pourer will ask if you want lemon or milk and sugar. You’ll need to know up front if you want any or not. Personally, I’d go for the milk and sugar and hope for the best. The most likely teas to be served are a version of Earl Grey or a black tea blend. Both will be enhanced by the addition of milk and sugar.
6 Don’t slurp.
This is a social event, not a professional tea tasting. No slurping, swishing, and spitting. While we’re at it, don’t talk with your mouth full or you’ll end up spitting cake and scone crumbs about the room, getting them into the nap of the royal carpet or between the cushions of the royal settee. Other bodily noises should be minimized as best as you can — sneezes, coughs, snorty laughs, and…uh…well, you know!
7 Leave the bib at home.
Bibs are not really tea time attire. If you dribble or drop crumbs, oh well, we’re all human. But do try your best to avoid such happenstances. It helps to take small bites, chew thoroughly, and swallow, then take small sips of tea and swallow carefully so as not to have any going down the wrong opening in the back of your throat (one leads to the tummy, the other leads to choking and gasping in a very undignified manner).
8 Know how to handle your teacup and saucer properly.
·         When stirring, do not clang the teaspoon against the sides of the teacup, but rather just move it back and forth a couple of times and then place it on your saucer.
·         When seated at a table, you raise only the teacup and place it back on the saucer between sips.
·         If it’s a buffet tea (such as the large tea party given annually at Buckingham Palace), hold the saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the teacup in your right hand (if you’re left-handed, oh well!). In between sips, place the teacup back in the saucer and hold both in your lap.
·         Waving or holding your tea cup in the air should never be done unless you all are watching a soccer match and England’s team scores.
9 Don’t ask “Where’s the Royal Restroom?”
Actually, once the Queen has sat down, tea time has begun, and you should not leave the room before she does. However, she is an understanding sort and will be obliging if you really really really need to go (just ask for the “powder room”). It’s best, though, to take care of this before heading out to the palace.
10 Don’t overstay you’re welcome.
When the Queen stops eating, so should you. When the tea time is over, she will rise from her chair, and so should you (no one sits while she stands). A simple “Your Majesty” will serve as your goodbyes. Your escort will reappear silently and show you back to the main entrance (or, if you egregiously went against one of the items listed above, a couple of those red-coated, tall black furry hat wearing guards will show up to lead you to alternate accommodations that might not be too comfy).

So much for royal tea times. Time to get back to reality and have a nice, normal tea time where you can slurp, spew crumbs, stand when you want, eat as much as you want, etc. In other words, time to head home!
Isn't that a fun post???
Queen Elizabeth II hosts  at least 3 annual garden parties annually, but there will probably be more this year for her 90th birthday celebrations...including a huge one down The Mall..... The garden parties are one of the Queen's tools to honor folks and fulfill returns in social obligations at Buckingham Palace, London. Those invited can find themselves rubbing shoulders with about 800 heads of state, veterans of conflicts the UK has taken part in, OBEs, CBE, celebrities and politicians as well as members of the public who have distinguished themselves in a way that has brought them to the notice of those who send suggestions to the Queen's office.

This is a video from the Monarchy channel at YouTube about garden parties I found:

In 2003, my now deceased brother in law, Dennis Cox, was invited because of having been a World War II veteran and distinguished himself serving in the far east (although the way he told it, the only thing he had accomplished was avoiding eating anything but fish and chips or sausages and mash for 3 years in the orient). He reported being as close as 4 feet from Queen Elizabeth and having been very touched to see her chatting from soldiers just returned from battle. The weather was mild and there was no rain. He didn't have a camera, so no photo memories to share...

I found this list of what was served at the garden party that year:

27,000 cups of tea
10,000 glasses of iced coffee
10,000 glasses of juice
20,000 assorted tea sandwiches
5,000 bridge rolls
9,000 savory canapes
9,000 fruit tartlets
3,000 butter cake fingers
8,000 battenburg cakes
10,000 slices chocolate-lemon cake
4,500 slices Dundee cake
5,000 iced cake slices
3,500 slices of chocolate-jam swiss roll
100 gallons vanilla and strawberry ice cream


Here is the linky for your tea related posts...please remember that it is SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW but if you are patient...it's there! And I love to read your comments, and I do read every one, and can find you to visit! Thanks so much for joining me for tea!


  1. Last time I was in London, the Queen was hosting a garden party. Needless to say, I wasn't invited.
    Good sound advice if I do ever attend one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing this fun post, Ruth! I wished I had read this back in 2010 when I attended a Mother's Day with Queen Victoria. HA! Thank you for hosting and have a wonderful week!

  3. I enjoyed reading the rules on having tea with the Queen, Ruth! I don't think I'll ever attend any of her teas (LOL!), but they're still good rules for when attending a tea.
    Thanks for the party and may you have a wonderful week!

  4. Hi Ruth,
    I love the fun rules on having tea. So cute. I think it would be hard not to gawk! Lol. Thank you for hosting Tuesday Cuppa Tea. Have a Wonderful Week! Blessings, Karen

  5. Hope you are having a wonderful day! The rules for the Queen's Tea is so informative. Rule 9 an 10 are especially interesting! We made a trip to the Hill Country close to Austin and San Antonio, Texas. We loved buying Wedgwood China from the San Marcos outlet. I brought boxes back in the car and found more on my porch from what we had ordered after rethinking! We received two this morning and more are still coming! Thanks for sharing your party!

    Take care,

  6. Hi Ruth! I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing it and for hosting your party :)

  7. Ruth, I loved this post! And I'll remember to review it beforehand if I ever have occasion to have tea with HM the Q! My homemade cake mix makes it easier to make a cake for afternoon tea in the midst of all the other preparations.

  8. Delightful post, Ruth. Pinkies up and all that. I was unaware of this Royal British tradition. Thank you for reposting. Have a nice weekend, Jill

  9. Hi Ruth, I enjoyed your post and hope you are having a wonderful trip! Thank you for hosting!

  10. Oh, this was a fun post! when my children were very little, I would always tell them they wouldn't get invited for tea with the queen unless they learned their table manners!


Thanks for visiting and we love to hear from you! We read every comment. If my husband's health permits, I love to visit andreply. Have a wonderful day and a cuppa tea always at hand! :)


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