Queen Elizabeth Afternoon Tea Recipes

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Queen Elizabeth Afternoon Tea Recipes: Hosting a royal tea fit for a queen becomes a bit easier when consulting the late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite teatime recipes, tea preferences, and even etiquette when taking tea with royalty.

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If serving an Afternoon Tea fit for a Queen is what you have in mind, we’ve gathered some of the late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite afternoon tea recipes. Along with royal guidance on how to properly drink tea, whether or not to raise your pinky, and an answer to an age-old debate over tea before milk.

Continue reading to view Queen Elizabeth’s Afternoon Tea recipes, her preferred tea, and how she liked it brewed and served.

Her majesty’s former chief pastry chef tells the Telegraph that Queen Elizabeth enjoyed afternoon tea daily, without fail.

He said,

“Such an event is a more formal affair where the tea must be brewed just-so, the cream cakes filled with seasonal British fruit and the jam sandwiches cut into the shape of old English pennies.”

“Every day she would have what we called a ‘cut cake’ – meaning she would cut a slice of it off – small cakes like eclairs or raspberry tartlets, and then scones: one day plain, the next day fruit. And two types of sandwiches: smoked salmon, or Sage Derby cheese and tomato, roast beef, or jam pennies.”

Darren McGrady, former person chef to Queen Elizabeth

On Tea: Does The Queen Pour the Milk in Before the Tea?

“The British royal family love their tea as much as the rest of the nation! But where does the Queen stand on the age-old debate about whether you pour the milk in first, or the tea? Her Majesty’s royal butler Grant Harrold shared an insight into the Queen’s favourite tea and how to prepare the perfect brew. Drumroll please… the monarch is a fan of Assam and Earl Grey, and will always add the milk after the tea,” Hello! Magazine says.

Mr. Harrold has told the BBC that it’s a “myth that members of Royalty use their pinky when drinking, I have never seen that happen once.”

He further explains the “‘correct’ way to make tea is to stir it back and forth never in a circle and never with the spoon touching the sides.”

Lastly, he advises that one should always sip delicately from your cup and never slurp.

On Scones: Jam or Cream First?

When it comes scones, what is known as the “great scone debate,” often comes up in conversation.

The sometimes contentious debate? Should the cream or the jam be spread first?

“Cream tea has been served in the UK since the 11th century and arguments surrounding the order of spreading the scone’s traditional toppings have ruminated ever since. While those in Devon typically spread the clotted cream first followed by jam, the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by cream.”

If you’re curious as to how Queen Elizabeth reportedly preferred her scones, The Independent quotes comments from former Royal pastry chef Darren McGrady:

“The Queen always had homemade Balmoral jam first, with clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the royal tea tent and all royal tea parties.”

Queen Elizabeth and Her Favorite Tea

If you want to serve tea as Queen Elizabeth preferred, you’ll want to brew a pot of Earl Gray or Assam tea.

Her Majesty’s royal butler, Grant Harrold, says the Queen enjoyed “her Assam or her Earl Grey the traditional way, made with tea leaves in a teapot and poured into a fine bone china teacup. She will also use a strainer.”

Teas Preferred by Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Tea

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When was Queen Elizabeth’s Afternoon Tea Served?

Royal tradition says Afternoon Tea is celebrated “between 3 pm and 5 pm with an assortment of cakes, pastries, dainty sandwiches and, of course, scones with clotted cream, curd, and strawberry preserves.”

Royal Afternoon Tea is “served from elegant silver teapots into fine bone china teacups, Afternoon Tea and Cream Tea were set on low tables as the ladies relaxed in comfortable parlour chairs or in the garden.”

Etiquette Observed When Invited to Afternoon Tea with the Royalty

  • Upon the first meeting with royalty, one would address the former Queen as “Your Majesty” and after, then “Ma’am.” When departing, she would once again be addressed as “Your Majesty.”
  • When royalty enters a room, the proper form is to be standing.
  • Only the teacup should be raised when drinking… never the pinkie finger.
  • The teacup should always rest on the saucer when one is not drinking.
  • One is expected to stop eating once a member of the Royal Family has finished eating.

Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday

Every year, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her birthday twice. She was born on April 21, 1926, and celebrates privately with her family. 

Her official birthday was celebrated on the second Saturday in June with “Trooping the Colour,” also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade.

The Mall outside Buckingham Palace “is filled with flag-waving, Union Jack-clad merrymakers, all gathered to watch the official Trooping the Colour celebrations.”

Queen Elizabeth and a life of service.

“The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe.”

I think I speak for my generation when I say that the example and continuity provided by The Queen is not only very rare among leaders but a great source of pride and reassurance.

The Duke of Cambridge

A Garden Afternoon Tea Hosted by Queen Elizabeth

A Garden Afternoon Tea Hosted by Queen Elizabeth

Every year at Garden Parties across The Royal Residences, over 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 tea sandwiches, and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed!” 

Queen Elizabeth Books and Cookbooks

Queen Elizabeth Afternoon Tea Recipes

Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Afternoon Tea Recipes

More Afternoon Tea Ideas


  1. Dear Stephanie,
    I totally enjoy your site and the lovely posts you present each and every time. The recipes are delicious and they are full of charm and warmth. Thank you for everything….truly appreciate your efforts and passion.
    Lisa 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa, for your kind and sweet words! You have absolutely made my day, in fact, I think I’ll just sail through the rest of it, thanks to you. This post in particular was such a joy to write and research. She is a beautiful lady. Thank you for reading :)!

    1. Hi Dona, to get the links to the recipes, scroll to the bottom of the post and click on either the images or the “Keep Reading” button. For instance, look for “Her Majesty’s Carrot Cake” and either click or tap the carrot cake image or the button below it. This will take you to the recipe.

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