Fragrances of the Royal Family

Hey everyone – as you’re no doubt aware, Queen Elizabeth II died last week. The coverage of the Queen’s death has been huge here in the U.S. as it has in many parts of the world; after 70 years on the throne she was the longest-reigning British monarch in history. (Queen Victoria is next, with 63 years.)

My thoughts at one point turned to fragrances worn by the royal family, and if the Internet had any information about fragrances worn by them now and in the past (some of whom are no longer with us). I offer this with no disrespect intended; fragrance has gotten me through some of the darkest times of my life, along with the joyous moments. Here’s what I turned up, with the obvious caveat that I have no idea if this information is correct although it’s from multiple online sources … apologies if I didn’t sort everyone’s correct titles, which I think are being announced.  Also, Penhaligon’s posted a statement of remembrance on their website.

Queen Elizabeth II – the internet says she wore either White Rose by Floris, or L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain.  Maybe she wore both, who says you have to stick with one scent?  These seem likely choices; a green/sweet floral and a powdery heliotrope, both with a respectable lineage.

King Charles III – Green Irish Tweed by Creed.  That feels entirely plausible – conservative, and from a prestige UK brand with a French twist.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge – Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon’s – “originally created for the Duke of Marlborough.”  Another plausible choice.

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge – White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum.  That makes sense – a “younger” white floral from a lesser-known brand, although it reportedly sold out when the word initially got out that this is what she wears.

Prince Harry – Davidoff Cool Water. Different in that it’s not Creed or Penhaligon’s, and it’s nice enough. I thought he might wear an edgier scent. But maybe he just wanted something mainstream that smelled good and was less old-school.

Meghan Markle – Côte d’Azur by Oribe … aren’t these the hair-care people?  Well, it’s luxe anyway, maybe one of their original hair-care signature scents? No idea having never used their products; it sounds like white flowers and sandalwood. I kind of want to try this and their other two listed scents, which are also available in travel sprays.

Princess Anne – Calèche by Hermès.  This aldehydic white floral is the line’s first feminine fragrance. Elegant, correct, and a bit interesting.

Princess Margaret – Oscar by Oscar de La Renta. This makes me smile; I wonder how it smells these days?  The mother of a high-school friend wore it and I thought it was lovely at the time.

Princess Diana – the internet lists both Quelques Fleurs by Houbigant and Penhaligon’s Bluebell – more youthful and less “serious” but also classic.


Are any of these favorites of yours?  Have you ever tried or bought a fragrance because someone you liked or admired (famous or not) wore it?

  • Georgette says:

    Found out that the Queen wore L’heure Bleue through an Outlander site, just after she passed. The perfume is mentioned in the first Outlander book. I couldn’t get to like it at first, but I ordered a sample on line. I finally ordered it a couple of years ago. It smells like a Witchy shop (incense) and I love it now. I looked up the perfume just to be sure the Queen actually wore it. Even then you can’t goby what is published on the internet 😉 but glad she may have worn a perfume that I actually recognized. I ordered White Rose today online. Hope I like it too. I like that you have listed what the Royals wear.

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    Somehow I thought I’d replied to this thread.
    LOVE celebrity/perfume match ups. It’s always fun to read what they might have worn.

    When Princess Diana was in Sydney once, very early on in the 1980s, she made an unexpected stop at the HIV/AIDS ward where we lost so many of our friends. She wandered through, talked to and touched the very ill patients. One of the first people with real world power to do so. It was a very smell brick in the building of HIV/AIDS acceptance and treatment, but an important one.

    Portia xx

    • March says:

      That’s a lovely story — all the terror of that time, and the (few) celebrities and people in power who were willing to put themselves out there. I didn’t know this about Diana; thanks for sharing. <3

  • Tom says:

    I remember Oscar as one of those that everybody’s Mom wore for a while. Still kind of 80’s in that it wasn’t exactly shy, but not something that would scare the horses. Just pretty and … nice.

    • March says:

      I realize I can’t remember the smell at all, although I clearly liked it and I looked at the notes. Might have to rustle some up.

  • Maya says:

    Fun post. I tried White Rose and it didn’t interest me, though I wondered if the vintage would. I have yet to find a vintage Guerlain that I don’t like to one degree or another. Penhaligon and I aren’t friends except for Ostara and even Ostara left Penhaligon. 😉 I also tried with Caleche, but no. And then there’s Oscar. I got it with a bunch of ’80s minis I once bought. It’s very pretty! I happily used it all up and bought more vintage.

    • March says:

      I wanted to like Penhaligon’s but somehow the line leaves me lukewarm? Guerlain for the win on that one. I don’t like Caleche on ME, but I’ve smelled it on other folks a few times and thought it was lovely! And I’m going to have to re-sniff Oscar for sure.

  • Musette says:

    I wore Oscar (the original, with the white crystal flower cap, right?) back in the 80s. I loved it, though as my tastes evolved I found it a bit too sweet for me.

    Also Back in the Day, I used Oribe hair products and remember them as being very nicely (and elegantly) scented.


    • March says:

      Yep, that Oscar! My vague recollection is that it seemed/smelled like such a contrast to some of the “earthier” scents at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever tried Oribe! But I got the impression the one named is based on the original haircare scent … makes sense, remember how obsessed I was with Ouai? They make that in a fragrance.

      • Musette says:

        I do! and every time I’m in Ulta I sniff it, expecting a beachy scent (because I am a simple soul) and every time I’m surprised that it’s not!


  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve known 2 or 3 ladies who wore Oscar as their signature scent. It’s pretty.

  • Marsha says:

    Oscar still smells wonderful.

  • cinnamon says:

    I had seen that Kate wore the Illuminum perfume. There was a period after she mentioned it when it was sold out. Green Irish Tweed makes sense. Caleche … I really tried to be able to wear this back in the ’90s. Recall being at the Hermes stand in Bergdorfs sniffing my wrist and really really trying to love it but no good. But it is wonderful on others. The only times I looked into trying things that were getting a lot of love was when they got mentioned repeatedly on the Makeup Alley perfume board.

    • Musette says:

      I’ve had the same trouble with Caleche, alas. But MAYNE! when worn ‘correctly’ it is fabulous! Just not on me – and it gives me a headache. Alas.


      • cinnamon says:

        I recall thinking when I tried it ‘come on, please, please do a bit more than that’. Alas, no.

    • March says:

      Caleche doesn’t smell great on me either, but as you mention, I’ve smelled it on other people and thought it was great.

  • Alityke says:

    I’m always tickled by “what perfume famous people wear” articles. Reports tend to change depending on either what business has bought the advertising that month or it “slips out” by the supplier. If it’s the latter check they have a royal warrant if claimed to be worn by a Royal.
    Now after I’ve seen off my inner British cynic Caleche being worn by the Princess Royal would be a good fit with the horse aspect, though Anne herself seems too patriotic to wear French. When I met her she wasn’t wearing anything other then Elnett that I could determine.
    The Queen Consort didn’t smell of scent either but if I had to guess wore some By Terry face powder. Could have been her scent which was a rosy powder fragrance, if so it was very discreetly applied.
    She is very beautiful close up, fabulous skin & naughty bright blue eyes!

    • cinnamon says:

      When did you meet the various royals? I can imagine Camilla having gorgeous skin.

      • Alityke says:

        A friend & I raised a shed load of money for a head injury charity that the Princess Royal is the patron of. We were invited to attend the opening of the charities new rehab facility. My friend couldn’t attend so I took DH. I was introduced & ignored but she honed in on DH & got way too close to him & asked him loads of questions about the fund raising. He politely pointed her back to me for the answers. She was rude & had asked for a 3 course well done roast beef dinner for her & her entourage. From a tiny charity!
        Camilla came to open the Research Facility I worked at as one of the specialist areas of research was bone metabolism & osteoporosis, a cause very close to her heart. She declined to have a lunch prepared for her, said the staff loos were fine for her if they were for us & brought her own lunch in Tupperware. No need to spend from the public purse. The security liaison team adore her, the tales they told us about Anne & Margaret were both funny & horrific learning how little respect they have/had for the populace.
        Camilla was knowledgeable, inviting, giggly & has the deepest sexiest voice. Poor Diana never stood a chance. Not a popular view I know, but Camilla is hawt, funny, intelligent & genuinely interested in others. She turned me into a fan girl in the 15 minutes I was with her

    • March says:

      Yeah, big ol’ grain of salt with these lists, for sure. LOLing at Elnett. I’m surprised by the Queen Consort info, she’s I think a (former?) smoker who spends a lot of time outdoors, I figured her skin would be aged. She does have lovely eyes though!

      • Alityke says:

        These upper class women all have amazing skin, even outdoorsy country women like Camilla. It’s the weather, not much sun, lots of rain & good health from masses of outdoor exercise without trying! I suspect they all use great skin care too

  • Briony says:

    I also read, many years ago, that The Queen wore Joy, and Princess Diana often wore Diorissimo. Nice choices that I would choose for them myself. Also interesting that many of their perfumes are British brands. That makes perfect sense too.

    • March says:

      Those are also two fragrances that seem highly plausible! I assume there’d be an (unconscious?) pressure to choose a UK brand … what an odd way to live, thinking that your outfit or perfume brand is potentially a political statement.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Per her defunct lifestyle blog, MM claimed to wear Jo Malone Wild Bluebell. I also recall Kate Middleton using Jo Malone Grapefruit and also Orange Blossom to scent Westminster Abbey on her wedding day.

    • March says:

      Ooooh, her wedding day must have smelled fantastic! JM did come up on one of the lists I saw (MM allegedly has a fragrance wardrobe!)

  • taxi says:

    I used to wear Bluebell for a light floral. Not interesting enough to me to replenish after it was gone. Not really a Penhaligon fan. My favorite Floris was the now dc’d Syringa. Caleche & Quelques Fleurs smell better on others than on me. Idk any of the Oribes. I do like LHB in chilly weather.

    • March says:

      I feel like there was one other (besides Amaranthine) I liked but honestly can’t remember, the line just isn’t “me” although perfectly nice. I like the Floris carnation one a lot — Malmaison? I think that was it.

  • Tara C says:

    I like LHB and Calèche, wore Quelques Fleurs back in the 80’s and 90’s. I never paid much attention to what celebrities claim to wear, figuring taste is so individual, I just go by my own nose.

    • March says:

      You know … I don’t think I’ve ever smelled Quelques Fleurs and now I want to. And I’ve never chosen a fragrance for myself “because Famous Person wears it” but I have tracked things down after smelling something fabulous on a stranger lol.