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Afternoon tea etiquette and James Corden’s interview with Prince Harry

Did you watch James Corden's interview with Prince Harry? In this highly entertaining video, actor, comedian, and all-round TV celebrity James Corden interviews Prince Harry in Los Angeles on top of an open double-decker bus. And guess what? They attempt afternoon tea on board an LA sightseeing bus - with little success. It's a real shame Prince Harry hasn't yet had the chance to experience the original English Afternoon Tea Bus tours with Brigit's Bakery. Because one thing's for sure - we know all about afternoon tea etiquette. And we would certainly make sure he doesn't end up with tea spilled all over his clothes!

Traditional afternoon tea on board the Brigit's Bakery double-decker buses

Our buses may not take you on a sightseeing tour of LA - and maybe 'English Tea on the 405', as the Prince suggests, has a ring to it. (Maybe). But if you'd like to explore the beautiful city of London when lockdown restrictions finally ease in the UK, we can guarantee a truly British afternoon tea experience. One where, no matter what happens, you will not be wearing your tea the way Prince Harry did in LA - or the trolley for that matter! (Thankfully, he could see the funny side of it!).

In fact, we don't use trolleys that slide dangerously up and down the bus aisle at all! Also, you won't end up snorting tea out of your nose (not on our account anyway, but the video really is worth a watch!), and you won't be asked to clean after yourself. Whether you're choosing your hot drink from our selection of loose leaf tea or coffees, we don't pour the tea from great heights either!

After years of serving customers onboard our buses while expertly navigating the trafficked streets of London, we have high tea nailed down. We don't serve your hot drinks in a traditional teacup. Instead, we use beautifully-branded, reusable travel mugs that come with handy lids to avoid dangerous spilling accidents. The best news? You get to take them home with you as a keepsake of your afternoon with us. And they're dish-washable too!

Brigit's Bakery and The Royal Family

It's obvious that James Corden and Prince Harry made a faux pas or two when enjoying their tea during their socially distanced rendezvous in LA. Did you know that the saucer stays on the table (oh, wait - they didn't even have a table!), and that your pinkie finger shouldn't be stuck up in the air?

This might surprise you, but this interview isn't the first time Prince Harry's given us a lovely excuse to talk about afternoon tea etiquette. Back in May 2018, to celebrate his much-anticipated marriage with Meghan Markle, we partnered with Debretts' for a unique and exclusive Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. While our customers got the chance to enjoy a custom-created menu, they also learnt facts about Prince Harry and the Royal Family. Our partners for the tour, Debrett's, who have been offering essential etiquette advice for over 250 years, helped us teach our customers all about the uniquely British custom of afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea etiquette Harry & Meghan Wedding

Afternoon tea etiquette

Did you know that the tradition started in the 1840s at the hands of the Duchess of Bedford? So here are some interesting facts about afternoon tea etiquette to help you see where things went wrong for Mr. Corden and Prince Harry:

  • You should eat your sandwiches first, then your scones, and your cakes last.
  • Ideally, you should eat your scones while they're still warm. Make sure you break them in two by hand (not with a knife) and then eat each half separately. (Because you're not eating a burger, right?)
  • What about cream and jam when it comes to your scones? Well, that depends on whether you ask the Cornish or the Devonians. It's jam first and clotted cream on top in Cornwall and the other way round in Devon. You pick - we just can't take that responsibility!
  • And how about the way you stir the tea? Easy. Avoid circular motions and, instead, stir with a back and forth movement. And, of course, try to avoid clicking your spoon against the side of the cup.
  • There's a rule about milk too, and it's that it should go in first!
  • And when it comes to holding your saucer, did you know it depends on the height of the table? If it’s low, you can pick up your saucer - although it's recommended you don't. But on a high table, it's a definite no.
  • And last but not least, you should hold your cup with your thumb and index finger. Your middle finger should rest on the handle. If you're right-handed, hold the cup with the handle at 3 o'clock. If you're left-handed, position your handle at 9 o'clock instead.

Quite the list of rules, right? If you're interested in finding out more about afternoon tea and its history and tradition, head over to our blog post: What's the difference between high tea and afternoon tea?

But the good news is, we have our own modern take on this long-standing tradition. With us, the dress code is smart casual, and the food has a delicious twist to it. All we care about is that you have a great time!

Afternoon Tea Etiquette

Book an Afternoon Tea Bus Tour with Brigit's Bakery

Our bus tours will start again on the 17th May 2021, so put the date in your diary! We have done everything possible to implement the right safety measures. For example, we have separate seating booths with Covid-19 safe perspex screens, and our staff wears masks and gloves throughout the tours. To find out more about all the measures we have implemented, head over to the article: Social distancing and safety on our buses.

While we're delighted to welcome you back on board our Afternoon Tea Bus tours, we take your safety very seriously. For this reason, in the short term, we will be running a limited schedule. Our tours will depart at:

  • 12 o'clock from Victoria Coach Station.
  • 12:15 pm from Somerset House - watch out for our Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus tours, running from Thursdays through Sundays.
  • 12:30 pm from 8, Northumberland Avenue.

As always, we offer a selection of menus, including Traditional, Vegan, Vegetarian, Halal, and Gluten-free.

We recommend you book early to find yourself and your party a spot on one of our tours.

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