Back in June 1865, Americans were reeling from the end of the Civil War, Charles Dickens was recovering from a near-fatal train accident at Staplehurst, and in London, the Langham opened its doors. The Langham was Europe's first grand hotel to serve afternoon tea, a tradition, it says, that began in 1840 when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, hit the 4 p.m. wall and served tea and snacks “to ward off hunger pangs in the long hours between lunch and dinner.” Amen.
As it happens, this year is the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, or the Diamond Jubilee. To mark both its founding and the Diamond Jubilee, the Langham Huntington in Pasadena will celebrate on June 10 with its Jubilee Anniversary Tea: 80 people will be chosen, via lottery, to attend an afternoon tea served at 1865 prices. That would be a mere shilling and sixpence, or 15 cents in 2012 U.S. dollars, which is considerably less than the Langham's present-day prices of $39 to $59 per person for the privilege.
To throw your hat in the ring, submit your name on the Langham's website before May 31. You also can enter its Jubilee Anniversary Tea Photo Contest on Facebook. After you submit your entries, do as you do after entering the reservation lottery for LudoBites: Tweet. Pray. Love.
If your prayers are answered, the proper attire for afternoon tea will be similar to that for a LudoBites meal (i.e., a smartphone, a camera), with the addition of two things: Winners of the Langham's lottery will be asked to wear a bit of pink, the hotel's signature color, and a hat, in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. If you need help finding the appropriate chapeau, we refer you to Dame Maggie Smith for all things hattery. Because surely, between Professor McGonagall and Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, you'll find just the right headpiece to wear while you ward off all those afternoon hunger pangs.