The origins of the phrase are not clear. According to one urban legend, "lie back and think of England" was an instruction given to brides or women in general in the Victorian Era regarding how to cope with the sexual demands of their husbands. While childbearing was considered a patriotic duty, women were not supposed to enjoy sexual intercourse, and brides in particular would have been ignorant of the facts thereabout. One version of this legend has it that Queen Victoria gave this instruction to her daughter on her wedding night. According to other, perhaps less reliable, urban legends, the phrase originated in the diary of Lady Alice Hillingdon (Alice Marion Mills née Harbord-Hamond, 1857–1940) in 1912:
I am happy now that George calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs, and think of England.
Lie Back and Think of England is also an album by British folk music group Oysterband, released in 1983.