A Gift of Tea to a King
Charles II had continued the royal legacy of keeping a menagerie of rare and exotic animals - camels, crocodiles, giraffes etc – and it was Charles who opened St James Palace gardens as a park so that the public could now admire the animals and birds too, in an aviary called Birdcage Walk.
So what do crocodiles and camels have to do with tea?
Two pounds of tea were found on board and duly came to the rescue of the Company and was gifted to the King. A few weeks later, the Company ordered 100 pounds of the “best tee procurable” from its Bantam factory, the implication being that the tea had been well received.
Was this the start of the royal tradition of tea drinking? Perhaps - it’s certainly a celebrated event in the history of tea drinking in Britain.