While strawberries have been in England since the ice age, strawberries & cream as a partnership actually date back to the 1500s. The original combination is credited to one of Henry VIII’s most trusted advisors, Cardinal Wolsey. A hugely influential man in Henry’s court, in some respects he was actually more powerful than the king - and fittingly, he built himself a palace, which we know today as Hampton Court.
Cardinal Wolsey later became known as Lord Chancellor, and with great power comes great responsibility - he was tasked with throwing grand balls and feasts for Henry’s associates. Hampton Court had the largest kitchens in all of Tudor England, and the feasts would often be for over 600 hungry - and demanding - lords and ladies, twice a day.
This meant that a quick, tasty, and crucially uncooked dessert was a necessity as much as a delicacy. Wolsey’s staff would serve a revolutionary (and practical) pairing of strawberries & cream in the beautiful dining halls, unwittingly kickstarting a trend that would last over 500 years.
Tudor traveller Andrew Boorde described the dessert as "rawe crayme undecocted, eaten with strawberyes or hurtes (whortleberry, billberry) is a rurall mannes blanket. I have knowen such blankettes hath put men in jeoperdy of theyr lyves."