Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Portuguese Queen of England, and the introduction of tea drinking in England

I have always loved history and never as much as now, as I finish the writing of the second workbook for the Catholic Textbook Project. Today the book mentioned the queen consort of Charles II during England's Restoration period:
On May 21, 1662, Charles married Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess, first in a secret Catholic ceremony and then in a public Protestant one. Catherine, a deeply devout Catholic, was also charming and goodnatured. Charles permitted her to have a Catholic chaplain and private Masses in her apartments. But Charles was not a faithful spouse, and Catherine suffered greatly on account of the king’s infidelity. Still, she was faithful and devoted to him.

I know I had heard of her before, but this time I dug a little deeper, enchanted by a woman that seems to have suffered her royal lot with grace and faith. I found out, mostly from Portuguese sources, much of her story, and some fascinating, surprising facts along with it!

Well, here is the short of it: she was married by political agreement to the King of England, and as dowry, Bombay and tangier were both given to England when the marriage took place. By proxy mind you. She only went to England a while later, not knowing a word of English. Well, at that time the Portuguese were the ones who controlled parts of India, and they had had taken to have... high tea! So, young queen Catarina goes to the English court and enjoys ... throwing tea parties! With her dowry, England begun its presence in India and was able to bring tea to the isle, because tea had become the fashionable thing... the rest is, of course, history. If you google pictures of this charming tea-drinking Portuguese, Catholic queen of England, you will find many... tea cups! Now you know why!

The English page of Wikipedia about her is also very good and adds the disputed claim that Queens, in NYC, is named after her! Her royal family name is still the current royal house of Portugal, as well as of the Imperial royal house in Brazil.
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elena maria vidal said...

Ana, how wonderful! I love Queen Catherine! She was a lady of great ability and character. I am so glad she was able to get her naughty husband to convert on his deathbed. BTW, last fall I had the honor of meeting Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza, one of the princes of the Imperial House of Brazil! He is a majestic man with eyes that pierce the soul. Thank you for your post!

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Oh, Elena, how so very neat to meet a prince! Would love to know a few more details!

Brian T. Austin said...


Much better than the etymology of "melba toast" - but allied!


Love the banner w/ your seven little "olive plants, round about thy table" (Ps. 127).


Fr. A