There is an anecdote, popular in Russia, about Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, who was served tea with lemon when dining with the English Queen.

After he had had the tea, he reached into the cup with a spoon (or, in some sources, even with his bare fingers) and ate the lemon, which apparently was a blatant violation of the protocol.

The Queen smiled, followed suit and ate hers too. As a result, the royal dining protocol has been since amended to allow this.

  • https://steemit.com/life/@russian-life/the-story-about-the-wise-english-queen-and-the-the-great-russian-cosmonaut

    I had a great English teacher in High school, he was the first one to tell me this story. I think it's truly touching. Being the guest of the English Queen in 1961, Yuri Gagarin, the first man in history who went into outer space, Soviet cosmonaut and pilot, was invited to have lunch with the Queen Elizabeth II and many other very important people . He was served tea with lemon (must have been gesture of respect, as Russians often have their tea with lemon, and not milk, like British do). After he had his tea, Gagarin took the lemon out and ate it. This was not exactly per the Protocol to say the least, and quite shocking to everyone. But the wise Queen pulled lemon out of her tea cup and did the same! Other guests immediately followed her example, and the awkward moment was resolved, made into a legendary story.

  • https://www.forumdaily.com/en/lanch-s-korolevoj-i-proshhalnoe-pismo-7-maloizvestnyx-faktov-o-gagarine/

    The first (version of this rumor) is that Gagarin, who did not know the subtleties of palace etiquette, took a lemon from a cup of tea and ate it. The queen followed suit.

and numerous Russian sources: https://www.google.com/search?q=гагарин+чай+с+лимоном

Is this true?

  • 10
    The idea that everone present also ate their lemon slice sounds like something from the 16th century. It is also reported that Gagarin brushed the Queen's knee to ensure she was real. In response to being touched, "the Queen just smiled and carried on drinking her coffee," Gagarin told Lebedev. That doesn't sound like tea to me. As the first man in space, perhaps he felt entitled to do as he pleased, including telling tall stories. Oct 25, 2019 at 12:42


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