Insider Quote: Embassy Wives & Tea Parties

Lipton Tea Tin - Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum ...Image by SAITOR via Flickr

“Arthur served under three ambassadors during our seven years in London. There were times when Embassy wives met regularly with the wife of the Ambassador at Wingfield House, the official residence. On one occasion, we were asked to assist in a tea party for lords and ladies, dowagers and what-not. We attended a sort of rehearsal before the tea so that we would know just what to do and how to act. On the assigned day, we arrived early, and when the guests arrived, we were all smiles and conviviality. I had no time to see how the others did, busy as I was in seeing that the ladies I happened to be with had their tea and cake and that the conversation flowed smoothly. The tea party didn’t last long, and I was glad when it was over. What was my surprise to be told by the Ambassador’s wife that we had been of little help and that she was very disappointed in us! She never asked us again to help her out with a tea party, for which we were duly thankful!”

Mildred Teusler Ringwalt

Memoirs of a Foreign Service Officer’s Wife (1938-1958)
The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training