Perfume has always been associated with decadence. Even to this day, it’s considered a luxury product; something to treat yourself to, rather than an everyday item.
Given the illustrious, wealth-ridden history of fragrance, it’s hardly surprising that it’s been loved by royalty for centuries. Here’s more information.
The favourite of the ancient royals
The ancient Egyptians believed that burning pleasant scents would please the gods. Given that they also believed that their Pharaohs were gods walking on earth, it was inevitable that the Egyptian royalty would end up using fragrance too.
After death, it was standard practice for Pharaohs to be mummified with a variety of scented plants, and for their bodies to be treated with fragranced balms. Hieroglyphics from this era show how carefully the perfumes were created; presumably to ensure the royal family was pleased with the final results.
This marked the start of it all, and the standard was set. From then on, perfumes would always be exclusive, sought-after products, only to be worn by the most important people in society. One notable exception were the Roman Emperors, who associated perfume with improper, unmanly conduct. Their wives, on the other hand, were permitted to drench themselves in fragrance, mainly to conceal the nasty smell of some of their cosmetics.
Decadence in French courts
Few monarchs did decadence quite like Louis XIV, in the 17th century. Many historians regard this period as the pinnacle of royal opulence. Whether this is true or not is another matter, but one thing is certain – Louis XIV knew how to use perfume.
It was so prevalent in his royal household, that his court was called ‘la cour parfumee’, which literally translates as the ‘perfumed court’. Louis loved his fragrances so much that he demanded a different one for each day.
This was fortunate, as according to historical reports, the king had a fear of taking baths. Believe it or not, he only bathed three times in his entire life, so the perfume was probably very necessary to conceal his body odour!
It was around this time that perfumed gloves also came into fashion. The perfumer-gantiers (the glover-perfumers) created ostentatious gloves for the royal family, which were all scented with the most exclusive perfume ingredients.
House of Creed – designing for the royals
Many people, when they purchase a fragrance like Green Irish Tweed, don’t realise that they’re buying from a perfume house with a remarkable history. House of Creed dates back to 1760, and in the past, has designed perfumes for the French monarchy.
The founder of the company, James Henry Creed, originally worked as a tailor. However, after he designed a fragrance in honour of King George III, his reputation as a master perfume-maker was secured. Once the King of England started wearing it, everyone wanted a bottle too.
House of Creed’s royal connections didn’t end there. In later years, Creed was appointed as Queen Victoria’s official fragrance supplier. Soon, the European royal courts wanted a piece of the action, and Creed began producing perfumes for Napoleon III and Queen Christina of Spain.
Naturally, House of Creed wanted to be where the epicentre of the perfume industry was – and where better to relocate to than France? They moved premises in 1854, under the patronage of the Empress Eugenie.
Although Creed’s fragrances are now available for everyone to enjoy, there’s still a sense that they’re very exclusive; reserved only for the privileged few. Perhaps that’s why they’re so enduringly popular, so many years after the company first started operating.
What do the royals wear nowadays?
These days, thanks to celebrity magazines and forceful journalists, it’s relatively easy to get the scoop on what the royal family are wearing.
Let’s start with Queen Elizabeth II. Our reigning monarch has never officially confirmed her favourite perfume, but royal experts speculate that she’s a fan of White Rose by Floris. Interestingly, this love of roses is echoed in her granddaughter-in-law, as it’s been reported that Kate Middleton loves Jo Malone’s fragrances, and some of those also feature rose. It makes sense; could there be a more decadent royal perfume than Velvet Rose and Oud?
Meghan Markle is apparently another big fan of Jo Malone, and Princess Margaret, according to sources, loves Oscar De La Renta’s Volupte.
What ingredients are fit for royalty?
Now the big question – if you want to smell like you’re fit to rule a nation, which fragrance should you be wearing?
Certainly, to get a hint of regal appeal, you’ll want to choose a scent that’s oozing with opulence. If you’re a traditionalist, you might want to make like Queen Victoria and choose Millesime, which features notes of fresh iris and marine accord, combined with sultry base notes of amber, musk and sandalwood.
Other timeless regal scents include Green Irish Tweed (favoured by the more outdoorsy type of royal), which has lively notes of cut grass, citrus and peppermint. Aventus is another popular choice (and indeed, another fragrance created by the world’s most well-known royal perfume-maker), and features rich notes of bergamot, oak moss and apple.
For the queens or princesses
If you’re looking for something more feminine, then take your inspiration from the latest generation of royal women – the ultra-stylish Meghan Markle and the ever-chic Kate Middleton. Both of them have openly stated their love of Jo Malone’s perfumes, which usually keep their ingredients simple, bold and instantly recognisable.
Otherwise, Aventus for Her is an excellent ‘regal’ smelling perfume. Strong, bold and uncompromising, it’s definitely a modern perfume for a woman in power.
If you’re keen to discover a perfume that brings out your royal side, then browse the Copycat Fragrances site today. Best of all, many of the scents, which have been inspired by some of the world’s most famous regal perfumes, come in sample sizes, making it easy to test them out when you’re next at the palace (or at work, of course).
Disclaimer: all products mentioned above, along with their labelling, are a guide and should not be confused with the actual fragrance brand. Any name trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective designers or makers. Please note, these perfumes and candles are not to be confused with the originals, and we have no affiliation with any companies mentioned. Our interpretations of the fragrances and candles were created through chemical analysis and personal development, and their description is solely to give the customer an idea of the nature of the scent. It is not designed to mislead or confuse the customer in any way, and does not infringe on the manufacturer's or designer's name or trademark.