|View of the well-lit orangery from the inside.|
After the Thursday lunch-time concert at the Hyde Park chapel on Exhibition Road (see older post on the concerts here), I took the occasion to visit the Orangery at Kensington Palace for high tea with friends.
For those unfamiliar with high tea, it consists of tea (herbal as always in my case), cakes, finger sandwiches, and scones, often all you can eat. This quintessentially English tradition, legend has it, was begun by one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, the Duchess of Bedford. She would became hungry mid to late-afternoon and, as she had learned in France, invited friends over for a "secret" tea with bread and butter sandwiches and cakes along with a walk in the fields. The summer practice at her country home was continued once moving to London for the "season," and other hosts soon picked up the practice.
Having high tea in Mayfair, especially at the Ritz, is now about the most English thing one can do. I personally find it amusing that the English tradition was learned from the French (something left out of the story inscribed in marble at Kensington Palace).
Tea at the Orangery is lovely, and inexpensive as high tea goes. The scone (beautiful things!) was orange-scented, and the African red bush tea had orange in it. I highly recommend it.
|Tea stand - had already eaten the sandwiches on the bottom, |
and a friend had eaten the lemon tart on top.
|The statuary was beautiful.|
|There were little orange trees on each table.|