Catherine of Braganza, queen-consort of King Charles II of England.
375 years have passed since Portuguese Princess Catherine was born on November 25, 1638, but she is still remembered. Why? Because she is credited for introducing the custom of drinking tea to Britain - a custom that was very popular and fashionable among the royal court where she grew up.
History reveals that Catherine didn't actually 'introduce' tea to Britain, because Samuel Pepy's, a wealthy Londoner, made a reference in his diary to drinking tea for the first time on September 25, 1660, and Catherine didn't arrive in England until May 1662. Tea was an uncommon beverage in England at the time Pepy's wrote his diary statement though.
Catherine loved taking tea daily, and her dowry included a chest of tea. She adapted to English customs, but much preferred drinking tea over ale - the common British beverage of that time. Soon her taste for tea created a fad at the royal court, which spread to aristocratic circles, and then to the wealthier classes. Catherine definitely 'popularized' tea in England.
As well as being important to tea's popularity, another gift in her dowry was Bombay in India, which enabled Charles II to lay the foundations for the growth of the British tea trade. The valuable port became the Far East trading headquarters, which was important to the tea trade.
[Internet photo - Statue of Catherine of Braganza]