Edwardian Tea

L to R: Queen Alexandria (Rubie Wheeler), Kathy Rodgers (violin teacher), Ashley Cockcroft, Nancy Maquire, Mrs. Keppal (Karen Woodard), Caroline Kipling (Kimberlee Esselstrom), Lillie Langtry, Mistress (Penny Radovcic).

Karen S. Woodard
Orlando, Florida

Being a member of a historical commission has its benefits and this past June I gave my annual tea party using an Edwardian theme. My tea friends met at The Wither-Maguire House, which was built in the 1890's, and they were given a tour by Nancy Maguire. My granddaughter, Ashley Cockcroft, and I left the group and returned home to prepare for the arrival of my highly fashionable and quite famous friends!

Back at "Woodards' Cottage", Ashley and I met our young pianist, Dana Thurman, and our singer, Leslie Layman, at the door to prepare for the grand arrival. When the cars were parked, and the women were walking up the garden path, the sounds of Mozart's Sonatine in "C," and Chopin's, Nocturne in "E" Flat Minor came drifting from the opened double wooden doors. Miss Ashley held out the silver card tray and Ms. Leslie spoke French as she greeted everyone with handmade mints!

The guest list was impressive. I was fortunate in receiving Queen Alexandria, Mrs. Rudyard Kipling (Caroline), Louisa Barrett, head Mistress of the Macauley School for Girls, Anne of Green Gables, Alice Roosevelt-Longworth, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Lillie Langtry. I played the role of the long-standing mistress of King Edward, Mrs. Keppal. The guest of honor was Nancy Maguire and my violin teacher, Kathryn Rodgers.

Well, as you can see, I don't let my guests off easy. The costumes were beautiful and the characters were well researched and presented. However, I did feed them well with Beef Sirloin in Herb sauce, White beans, and a Radicchio salad. Their thirst was quenched with iced lemon verbena tea, coffee, etc. Desserts were Poppy Seed Orange Cake-Orange Mint Leaves, Tiramisu, Aniseed Cookies, Petit Fours, and Strawberries. The table was set and decorated by Miss Ashley and she also used her artistic abilities and made the drawing the on the posted menu.

I love preparing and researching ideas for my tea parties, and with each one, the ideas just seem to come together effortlessly. After plans and dates are workable for the group, the invitations are sent out and include a surprise guest. When the phone begins to ring, there are questions, questions, questions, and I never answer them all! I do believe that I am the one who is having the best time at these teas! Long Live the King!

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