Fragrances Fit For A Queen
With Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II celebrating both her Platinum Jubilee and official birthday this month, we thought it appropriate to explore several queens of Sicily from centuries past when Italy was made up of small, independent kingdoms — and speculate as to which Ortigia fragrance each monarch might favour.
AMBRA NERA — MARGARET OF NAVARRE.
The most well-documented Sicilian queen of the Norman-Swabian era, Margaret was regent from 1166-1171, governing two million subjects across Sicily and south of Rome, including the largest population of Muslims living under a female ruler. We believe the rich labdanum and spices in Ambra Nera aptly reflect the multicultural merchant societies under her rule.
ZAGARA — CONSTANCE OF SICILY.
Queen consort of Aragon from 1276-85 and reigning queen of Sicily from 1282-85, Constance is even referenced in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, Canto III of Purgatorio — Dante is asked by Manfred, her father, to pass on a message to her. We believe her astute political skill makes Zagara's cool, strong notes of neroli and petitgrain a perfect match for her.
FICO D'INDIA — MARIA SOPHIA OF THE TWO SICILIES.
The last queen of Naples & Sicily before Italian unification in 1861, Maria Sophia, Duchess in Bavaria was the younger sister of the famous Empress Elisabeth "Sissi" of Austria. Remembered fondly by the Sicilian aristocracy as "very dignified", it was later said that "age spiritualised her beauty" — so we believe that the polished femininity of the cedar and fig in Fico D'India would suit her well.
FLORIO — MARIA OF ARAGON.
Unusually for a queen, Maria was a direct heir to the throne, reigning from age 13 in 1377 until her death in 1401. As a teenager she endured kidnapping and political betrayal by her late father's advisors, yet remained sweet and patient. We believe that the delicate floral profile of Florio gently captures the tender bloom of youth in which she was thrust into power.
The Sicilian garden where Ortigia fragrances were first distilled was established some 800 years ago, around the period that Margaret of Navarre and Constance of Sicily were in power. It's incredible to think that the very ingredients in these perfumes are grown with such strong historical ties to the complicated, often-turbulent political landscape of the Middle Ages and beyond.
These four glorious fragrances are now available in 100ml sizes, the perfect crown jewel for our own royal chambers. Which Sicilian queen sounds most fascinating to you?