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  1. #1

    Default Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Someone else tried to post a similar topic on a different website months ago, but it disappeared quickly. I hope that I can post here and that the question would generate more responses.

    Even before the Tudors series appeared on Showtime, I was interested in Henry VIII's time (I am not a historian!).

    So, what perfumes would you choose for his famous and, in most cases, tragic wives? I am not concerned with historical accuracy, i.e., what they might have actually worn, so please feel free to share what current perfumes you would associate them with and why.

    I'll start:

    Katherine of Aragon, the pious and gracious queen, divorced by Henry:
    Amouage Memoir (it has this beautiful, bold insence that seems appropriate for her religious and strong character)

    Anne Boleyn, the most misunderstood of Tudor wives and the most fascinating to me, who was intelligent and articulate:
    Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Montale Aoud Rose Petals (early years), Amouage Epic Woman (for her later years)

    Jane Seymore, described as pale and timid, who died in childbirth: By Kilian Love and Tears, Bond 9 Madison Square.

    Anne of Cleves, divorced and perhaps the luckiest of wives (actually, Henry complained of her "bad smells", but he was probably biased):
    Amouage Reflection, not because it smells "bad," but because it smells really innocent, as Anne of Cleves was when she married Henry.

    Katherine Howard, Henry's "rose without thorns": Harrods Rose for its gentle youthfulness, By Kilian Rose Oud for the potential of passion in it.

    Katherine Parr, steadfast and well-educated:
    Guerlain Shalimar, Chanel Coco.

    I look forward to your ideas!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Hmmm...I disliked "Other Boleyn Girl" and thought the HBO Tudors was atrocious.

    I liked "Anne of a Thousand Days" much better.

    Here we go:

    Katherine of Aragon The young, Spanish widow wed to the brother of her deceased husband. Something very Catholic with the smell of a great cathedral. Avignon by CdG? Cardinal by Heeley?

    Anne Boleyn I would say Ultima II's Head Over Heels, for obvious reasons. She was the first to get beheaded.

    Jane Seymore Something meek and quiet, yet regal. Borsari Violetta di Parma.

    Anne of Cleves Something German: Knize Lady.

    Katherine Howard Penhaligon's Elizabethan Rose. (I know this post-dates her time period.)

    Katherine Parr Bold and confident Azuree.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Thank you, Primrose! I know what you mean about the Tudors series. I mentioned it because most people think about it (including a historian I know, not a Henrician, of course) whenever I bring up the topic I recently read the biography Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett, and to my delight, the initial chapter discussed in some detail the perfumes used by royal Spanish family at the time.

    I loved your choices--good play with words, too. Now I am very curious about Cardinal and Knize Lady, which I have never tried.

    Please keep them coming.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Quote Originally Posted by catnip_too View Post
    Thank you, Primrose! I know what you mean about the Tudors series. I mentioned it because most people think about it (including a historian I know, not a Henrician, of course) whenever I bring up the topic I recently read the biography Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett, and to my delight, the initial chapter discussed in some detail the perfumes used by royal Spanish family at the time.

    I loved your choices--good play with words, too. Now I am very curious about Cardinal and Knize Lady, which I have never tried.

    Please keep them coming.
    catnip, I would imagine Spanish perfumes to be heavily influenced by their Moorish past and Mediterranean location. Lots of marvelous attars and spices.

    If you are interested in historical fiction with a little bit of real history, you might want to read some fiction by Norah Lofts:

    "The Concubine," about the life of Anne Boleyn.

    "The King's Pleasure," about the early days of Katherine of Aragon, right through the divorce and beyond.

    I highly recommend you watch, "Anne of a Thousand Days." A very noble portrayal of Queen Katherine by Irene Papas.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Katherine of Aragon, the pious and gracious queen, divorced by Henry:
    I see her in a simple lavender water, nothing fancy or coquettish.

    Anne Boleyn, the most misunderstood of Tudor wives and the most fascinating to me, who was intelligent and articulate:
    Totally Carnal Flower for her!

    Jane Seymore, described as pale and timid, who died in childbirth: L'Heure Bleue. I could imagine Henry getting phantom whiffs of her perfume and never recovering from losing her.

    Anne of Cleves, divorced and perhaps the luckiest of wives (actually, Henry complained of her "bad smells", but he was probably biased):
    Pampelune: She thought it was a fresh citrus, but all he got was B.O, from it.

    Katherine Howard, Henry's "rose without thorns": A beautiful, too young, immature idiot, who just wanted to have fun. Any of the Paris Hilton frags will do.

    Katherine Parr, steadfast and well-educated:
    for her, something feminine and classy, mature and beautiful:
    Bulgari pour Femme.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Anne of the Thousand Days is indeed a great movie. But my all-time favourite portrayal of the notorious Henry and his six wives is the series which starred Keith Michell as Henry. Produced in the 70's, it's now available on DVD and video, and I've just watched all six and something hours - marvellous! Hope US readers can get a version that will play for you too.
    My choices would be:-
    Catherine of Aragon - Aromatics Elixir, for her clarity and depth.
    Anne Boleyn - Parfum Sacre, for her fatal love and her tragic loyalty.
    Jane Seymour - Perfumers' Workshop Tea Rose, since she was a simple, gentle country lady.
    Anne of Cleves - Yardley Lavender, to highlight her provincial origins and humility. She was content to be divorced and given a fine country estate - lucky her!
    Katharine Howard - Joy, because she coveted expensive gifts and would have loved to have this most costly of perfumes in its day.
    Katherine Parr - Bulgari, yes, but I'd select Rose Essentielle for her, since she was ever hopeful that things would work out well - and they did.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfumes for the famous Tudor wives?

    Primrose, yes, the Spanish court at the time was heavily influenced by the Moorish culture. I remember that civet was quite popular, too, and they "employed" two of those special cats when Katherine was growing up. (I felt sorry for the cats.)

    I like Norah Lofts, especially her portrait of Anne Boleyn. I also enjoyed Alison Weir's non-fiction books The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Henry VIII: The King and Court . It is interesting to see how male and female authors have different perspectives on these historical characters, too, but that's a different story. Jean Plaidy and Margaret C. Barnes are probably my favorite fiction writers about this period.

    Nymph, your choices for Anne of Cleves made me laugh, but I can imagine Kathryn pulling off a Paris Hilton, actually. The girl grew up without luxuries, and her step-grandmother, who largely ignored her education, hardly taught her anything about perfumes. She was probably 17 when she died.

    Yardley Lavender for Anne of Cleves would be perfect! She was brought up very strictly by her mother, so I don't know whether she knew how to use perfumes before she joined the English court. She had a comfortable life as Henry's favorite "sister" after the divorce, and she even entertained a court of her own, so she might have learned to enjoy not only the rich gowns, music, and gambling, but also some fragrances (perhaps in a pomander).

    Redrose, yes! I can certainly see the well-bred Spanish infanta and English queen in Aromatics Elixir. Another one that came to mind for her was Chanel Bois de Iles.

    It's so good to find people who share an interest in perfumes and the Tudors!
    Last edited by catnip_too; 20th May 2011 at 03:47 PM.

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