I like to think of Catherine of Braganza as the first of the three honored ladies of tea....I cut the photo of her out of Jane Pettigrew's book: A Social History of Tea and placed it in a lovely gold frame.....
also, my favorite Michal Negrin necklace makes me think of Catherine in all her majesty bringing tea to England in her dowry..
Did you know that tea arrived first in Portugal and Holland before it's arrival in England? Actually, the English lagged somewhat behind in drinking tea. Portuguese traders were importing tea by the mid 17th century.
King John IV of Portugal came into an agreeable relationship with England's Charles II who was in exile in Portugal. The king's daughter, Catherine of Braganza is said to have had the largest dowry ever recorded in world history. Can you imagine 2 million golden crusados, Tangier and Morroco, Bombay, India and permission to use all the ports in the Portuguese colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. A marriage between Charles and Catherine guaranteed a wind of financial blessing for England tohelp pay off a large number of debts that Charles had both inherited and created.
One of the many items brought to England by Catherine was a beautiful tea chest with her prized tea. The Portuguese traders that had brought the tea to Portugal would now assist her in bringing it to England. Of course, tea would not to excessible to the common people for some time - it was only for the wealthy.