- Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford
Anna Maria Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford (
3 September 1783- 3 July 1857), was the daughter of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harringtonand Jane Fleming.
Anna was the wife of
Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford, and sister in law to the British Prime MinisterJohn Russell. She was a life-long friend of Queen Victoria[Bedford, Duke of. The History and Treasures of Woburn Abbey. Page 11. Pitkin Pictorials Ltd London] and between 1841 and 1847 served as a Lady of the Bedchamber. [ [http://www.thepeerage.com/p1412.htm#i14118] The peerage. The Hon. Anna Maria Stanhope] The Duchess and her husband entertained the Queen at the Bedfords' country house Woburn Abbeyin 1841. The Duchess was also the chief mourner at the funeral of Princess Augusta in 1840.
The Duchess is best remembered as the creator of the British meal "
afternoon tea." [Tavistock, Marquess of. "Woburn Abbey". 1995. Woburn Abbey and Jarold Publishing] During the 18th century, dinnercame to be served later and later in the day until by the early 1800s, the normal time was between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m. An extra meal called luncheonhad been created to fill the midday gap between breakfast and dinner, but as this new meal was very light, the long afternoon with no refreshment at all left people feeling hungry. The Duchess found taking an afternoon snack to be such a perfect refreshment that she soon began inviting her friends to join her. Afternoon tea quickly became an established and convivial repast in many middle and upper class households.
The Duchess was the mother of
William Russell, 8th Duke of Bedford. She died in 1857 and is buried in the Bedford chapel at Cheniesin Buckinghamshire.
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