In 1662, King Charles II of England married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza who brought with her, as part of her dowry, a small chest of tea. As the new queen, Catherine began the serving of tea to her friends at court.
Although there is mention of "five o'clock tea" in France in the 17th century, the credit for the invention of "Afternoon Tea" is given to Anna Russell, duchess of Bedford who, during the long gap between an early breakfast and very late dinner, experienced what she called "a sinking feeling" at about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. She asked her maid to bring her a pot of tea, a little bread and butter and cake in her room. She found this arrangement so agreeeable that she began asking her friends to join her.