Kate Middleton received a special edition of this Clive Christian No. 1 perfume as a wedding gift. Elegant and as opulent as the price tag would suggest, the perfume is floral with a hint of warm sandalwood—and it is believed to be similar to the scent Queen Victoria (Will's great, great, great, great grandmother) wore. What could be a better way to say "Welcome to the (royal) family"?
An apprentice to the Royal Court's perfumer in 1784, Pierre François Lubin was one of a handful of people with access to Marie Antoinette's secret fragrance. Fortunately, he memorized the recipe, and his namesake company recreated it in the form of Black Jade—a scent that is still sold today. Both musky and floral, the scent is a bit naughty, deeply feminine, and quite rich—much like its original wearer.
Catherine de Medici, queen of France in the 16th century, loved novelties—so much so that she is widely credited for the popularity of everything from handkerchiefs to perfume. During her reign, she commissioned the creation of Acqua Della Regina, or "Water of the Queen." This fresh scent blends citrus with exotic spices, and it's still hand-formulated today in Florence by Santa Maria Novella, the first pharmacy to produce the scent in the 1500s.
When London's Bayleys of Bond Street presented Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe to the Russian court, it immediately became a favorite of Catherine the Great. The slightly spicey chypre fragrance has been preserved in the form of a soap since 1938.
Allegedly, Guerlain created this scent for Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, to alleviate her headaches. The crisp citrus fragrance apparently worked, as Napoleon and Eugenie promptly named him the court's Official Perfumer. We can't decide which is better: that it relieves headaches or its, ahem, heady combination of orange blossoms and verbena.
In a letter to his brother, perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina likened his newest scent to "an Italian spring morning, of wild narcissus and orange blossoms after a gentle rain." The bright fragrance fuses citrus, herbal and floral notes—and it quickly captured the heart of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and mother of Marie Antoinette. Farina 1709 is still produced at the original factory, now the oldest existing perfumery in the world.
CREED Perfumes created Fantasia de Fleurs for Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was known for her impeccable beauty and style. After her ladies in waiting brushed the empress's hair (for up to three hours at a time!), they sprinkled it with jewels, then spritzed it which this rich, floral-citrus fragrance.
Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned perfumer Rancé to create two perfumes: one for himself and one for his wife Joséphine. Napoleon reputedly wished for Joséphine's fragrance to mingle with his when they were together, creating a unique combination. But in our opinion, Joséphine's fragrance doesn't need any help: the complex but elegant compilation of floral, wood and musk notes makes a strong impression on its own.
How do you recreate a 2,000 year old fragrance? Chemistry. Blue lotus was at the heart of Cleopatra's perfume, and with a few scientific instruments, Nénufar creator David Pybus captured the flower's exact aroma. Warm notes of almond and nutmeg ground the sweet, floral scent. As a result, it's feminine, sensual and entirely capable of seducing a modern-day Marc Antony.
Prince Rainier of Monaco asked CREED to create this fragrance for Grace Kelly to wear on their wedding day. Meant to complement her bridal bouquet, Fleurissimo is full of heady florals, from tuberose to rose to violet. It mixes the glamour of Old Hollywood with regal maturity—this is definitely not your daughter's perfume.
Some speculated that Kate Middleton would choose this scent when she tied the knot with Will. Why? Dior Diorissimo was a favorite of Princess Diana's—so much, in fact, that she herself wore it on her wedding day. The fragrance seems apt for such an occasion, as lily of the valley (the main note of the perfume) keeps it fresh and delicate.
Behind every great man, there's an even greater woman. For King Louis-Phillipe of France, that was his sister, Princess Adélaïde of Orléans. Smart and influential, she stood out in her brother's court and served as his closest adviser. Quelques Fleurs Royale is a similar blend of femininity and strength. The florals and citrus are romantic, but warm notes of vanilla and musk make it complex.
Crown Bouquet isn't the hyper-feminine, floral perfume you'd expect with such a name. It's actually a sharp, juicy green scent created for Wallis Simpson, an American socialite whose love was so great that King Edward VIII gave up his throne for her. The couple was later named Duke and Duchess of Windsor, but Wallis received her own mark of royalty in the form of this fragrance.
Eva Péron, First Lady of Argentina, inspired a musical, a film and—naturally—a perfume. A voice for the people (and women in particular), she was known for her passion and elegance. Some compare the scent of Ambre Cannelle, a warm and spicy fragrance, to stepping into Evita's embrace.
A court perfumer created this perfume in 1669 for Madame la Maréchale d'Aumont, the wife of the Marshal of France. It reveals that era's most popular scent: florientals. Crown Maréchale 90 is a sensual blend of classic florals (like rose and lavender) and exotic notes, such as cardamom and bergamot.