Who is the 7th Duchess?

Presenting Anna Maria Russell – The Seventh Duchess of Bedford

The Seventh Duchess takes its title from Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford credited with creating ‘afternoon tea’, a treasured, sumptuous tea treat to fill the space between luncheon and dinner.


Born in 1783, Anna married Francis Russell, the 7th Duke of Bedford in 1808, and was a lifelong confidant of Queen Victoria. Our tea muse was inspired by the art of tea – a savoured, refined ritual. The Duchess did not craft a particular variety of tea, rather the manner, dress and occasion that came to be known as ‘afternoon tea.’

In the early 19th century, dinner was being served later and later in the evening, usually between 8 and 9pm – leaving a considerable gap after the midday meal. Hungry, and perhaps even wanting another opportunity to entertain and socialize – the Duchess requested that some light food and a pot of tea be brought to her private quarters.

The concept was so successful that it quickly became routine – the Duchess soon invited high society ladies to her private rooms to indulge in the occasion. And so, a new social event was born.

We believe that one of the wonderful things about tea is the rituals, traditions and histories that surround it. We love any excuse and specially crafted occasion to share and indulge in a cup of tea, so Anna’s story is particularly special!