There are a dizzying number of royal rules that must be observed if you’re a member of the British monarchy. From the proper order of greetings (which we painfully witnessed on this past season of The Crown), to the contents of a bridal bouquetroyal protocols and customs even extend to beauty rituals like manicures and perfume.
According to Myka Meierthe founder of Beaumont Etiquette who was trained by a former member of the Queen’s household staff and is the author of Modern Etiquette Made Easy, both the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle are at liberty to wear whatever fragrance they’d like on their own time. But while representing the Crown, “it is uncommon for Royals to wear any fragrance whatsoever,” she tells BAZAAR.com. “Fragrance is a very personal preference, and while one might enjoy their own personal perfume, the person they are meeting with may not. Therefore, in professional situations, it’s unlikely any fragrance, including both perfume or scented body creams, would be used.”
But when Kate and Meghan are off the clock, they both enjoy fragrance, experts say. “Meghan has previously revealed ‘Fragrance is my favorite 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,’” says Charlotte Crawley, founder of Mad About Meghan. “I think, like many women, it’s very important to both ladies and an important element of their beauty looks.”
Kate on Her Wedding Day
Catherine Middleton married Prince William on April 29, 2011 wearing White Gardenia Petals by British perfumer Illuminum, according to What Kate Wore founder Susan Kelley. (This was also confirmed by Clarence House at the time.) Not surprisingly, the scent became a bestseller for the small niche brand, notes Kelley. The light floral scent has a hint of coconut, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and lily of the valley, laid on the base of amber wood.
The Duchess is also a fan of Jo Malone Londonand at Westminster Abbey she chose to scent the space with candles in the brand’s Orange Blossom scent, Grapefruit scent, and Lime, Basil, and Mandarin scent.
Kate in Everyday Life
According to Kelley, day-to-day Kate loves to wear Jo Malone London’s Orange Blossom, with notes of clementine flower, white lilac, water lily, and orriswood. Kate has also been known to enjoy her other two favorite Jo Malone scents—Grapefruit and Lime, Basil, and Mandarin—in everyday life, not just on her wedding day.
“I’ve seen people on social media who have bumped into Kate when she’s out shopping and have said she smells amazing, like raspberry and fruit—very clean, crisp smells,” adds Kelley. “While there’s no confirmation, I believe that fragrance is probably important to Kate as somebody who clearly pays attention to details, based off of photos from inside Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall [her two residences]. These are very lovely homes and settings, and fragrance is part of the setting for many people. She’s certainly demonstrated that she does pay attention to all sorts of details, so fragrance may well be part of the package.”
Meghan on Her Wedding Day
Meghan Markle married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018 wearing a custom-made perfume by Queen Elizabeth’s perfumers Floris Londonsays Susan Courter, founder of What Meghan Wore. This scent was made with sea breeze, sunshine, and water in mind and was inspired by the brand’s Beramotto di Positano perfume, which has notes of bergamot, orange blossom ginger, and green tea. “It’s crisp, clean, and airy,” says Courter.
As with some other Royal fragrances, this scent was created specifically for Meghan and her body chemistry, so finding an exact duplicate may not be possible, notes Meier. (This was not the first time Floris London created a Royal Wedding scent; the perfumer also created a scent for Kate’s wedding named Wedding Bouquet to honor the occasion.)
Additionally, Meghan used Diptych candles to scent St. George’s Chapel on her wedding day, Courter says; it’s a brand she continues to love, as “we’ve seen Diptyque candles in recent video conferences she’s had, or fresh cut bouquets of flowers in the background of her home,” she says. “I’m sure it smells amazing when you walk into their house.”
Meghan in Everyday Life
Thanks to Meghan’s former career as a blogger for her now deceased lifestyle blog The Tig (where she spoke at length about her beauty preferences) and thanks to a myriad of interviews she gave to the press during her acting career, we have a much clearer picture of Meghan’s fragrance preferences. And, as previously mentioned, Meghan loves beauty products, fragrance in particular.
“The Duchess previously revealed she alternates between a few scents,” says Crawley. “She adores the floral tones of Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum and several Jo Malone scents, including Wood Sage and Sea Salt.” Meghan’s favorite fragrances seem to trend towards floral, spicy scents, adds Courter. Oribe’s scent has key notes of Calabrian bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood; Meghan also loves Jo Malone London’s Wild Bluebell“which is Meghan’s signature daytime scentaccording to a past interview,” adds Courter.
At night, Courter says, Meghan wears Bvlgari BLV II, with notes of violet, mandarin orange, star anise, licorice, iris absolute, patchouli blossom, vetiver, benzoin, ambergris, cistus rockrose, and musks. She also loves wearing Dr. Bronner’s Body Wash in both lavender and almond“alternating between them,” says Courter.
Other Members of the Royal Family
The Queenwore White Rose by Floris London on her wedding day and wears Guerlain L’Heure Bleue day-to-day, says Kelley. Diana, on her wedding day, wore Some Flowers by Houbigant Paris, a floral scent with notes of orange blossom, rose, and lily of the valley, Courter says; in everyday life, she was known to wear Penhaligon’s Bluebell, a floral-fresh fragrance. And Sophie, on her wedding day, thing the very modern Romance by Ralph Lauren. “Fragrance can be very much a signature for a person, a really lovely element of their own personal brand,” says Kelley. “It is the exclamation point at the end of the sentence.”
How to Apply Fragrance Like a Royal
Meier shares her best Royal fragrance etiquette tips so you can not only smell like a Duchess, but you can apply fragrance like one, too.
- Spray your perfume on pulse points only, and never on fabric or clothing. “By spraying on pulse points, that is where the warmest exposed parts of the body are, and the fragrance lifts and permeates from the heat,” says Meier.
- Once you spray the fragrance on your skin, don’t rub it in. “The top notes of the fragrance may be ruined,” she says. “[Kate and Meghan] would be taught not to rub wrists together and to let the fragrance air dry on their skin.”
- Put on your fragrance before getting dressed. “Fragrance is not ever sprayed on clothing or fabrics, and it could damage the fabrics,” says Meier.
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