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Who was Catherine of Braganza?

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Well it seems like a question you might get asked at a pub quiz, but actually it has a great deal to do with our national drink, tea. How?

Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese Princess who was married to King Charles II and she is widely created with creating the national love affair with drinking tea. Prior to her arrival in our shores Britons occasionally dabbled with drinking tea but it was nowhere near as popular a drink as it is today. Catherine was a tea addict and because of this and the lack of decent supplies in London her husband the King ordered that more tea, be imported to satisfy his demanding wife.

Soon thereafter people in high society, eager to curry favour with the Royals started drinking tea and soon it became fashionable and popular with society types. It took a little while to filter down to the lower classes, but when it did Catherine’s drink of choice became everyone’s drink of choice. For the famed East India Company tea became one of their most profitable lines with the first large order for tea being placed in 1664 for 100lbs of China tea from Java.

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