It was Christian Dior who famously said, “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” For centuries, fragrances have defined the wearer, and this holds as true for members of the British royal family as it does for anyone.
The finer points of the Windsor clan’s beauty regimen are often kept top secret, but in the modern age, we have come to learn many elements of their private lives – including the scents they can’t live without.
The Duchess of Sussex has spoken quite a bit in the past about her love of perfumes. She told The Express in an interview: “Fragrance is my favourite thing. So much so that if I leave the house and I don’t put any on, I’ll turn around and go back home.” She has spoken of her favourites too, admitting to alternating between several at times.
A few of her faves include Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum and Jo Malone’s Wild Bluebell and Wood Sage & Sea Salt colognes. For her wedding day, she approached centuries-old perfumer Floris London to create a bespoke fragrance that is said to have been inspired by “the sea breeze, sunshine and water”.
For Kate’s signature wedding day fragrance, Clarence House confirmed that she had opted to wear White Gardenia Petals by UK perfumer Illuminum, who describes the scent on their website as a “delicate, refined scent, the top note of lily evokes summer ambience, whilst heart notes of gardenia, ylang-ylang and jasmine are sumptuous and feminine”.
Unsurprisingly, the queen opts for a classic scent. According to Vogue, the monarch favours Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, which was first released in 1912. Top notes are anise, neroli, coriander, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are heliotrope, carnation, violet, cloves, neroli, ylang-ylang, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, orchid and tuberose; and base notes are iris, vanilla, benzoin, sandalwood, tonka bean, musk and vetiver.
For her wedding, the queen reportedly chose White Rose by Floris London, which must be a favourite, since the company now holds a royal warrant – a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services to the queen.
Mary Greenwell, Diana’s former make-up artist, has spoken about the late princess’ love of perfumes. “She always, always, always wore fragrance,” Greenwell dished in an interview with ABC News back in 2014.
But which did she favour? According to Hello magazine, Diana was a fan of Penhaligon’s Bluebell, and also often chose to wear Christian Dior’s Diorissimo. For her wedding in 1981, Diana opted for Parisian perfumer Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs – described on the brand’s website as a “secret, mythical formula [that] diligently curates upwards of 15,000 exemplary flowers and 250 prestigious raw materials in the creation of a single ounce of the Eau de Parfum”. Fit for a princess indeed!
When the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York turned 21 back in 2009, reports surfaced that an unidentified acquaintance of the birthday girl engaged the services of one of the top perfumers in Paris to create a one off fragrance, simply called “Beatrice” – now that’s unique.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.