This week we finally got to try Bronnley’s beautiful line of hand and body soaps. I had trouble finding it here in the States, so I ordered a bar of the pink bouquet soap on Amazon. Then a friend reminded me about Merz Apothecary, this fancy, old-fashioned little soap and perfumery store located inside of the Palmer House Hilton on Monroe Street in downtown Chicago. I am thrilled to tell you they carry soaps sold by Bronnley, in addition to products made by fellow royal warrant holders Yardley, Molton Brown, and Penhaligon’s. It was at Merz that I picked up the cutest little bar of lemon soap that smelled lovely and that thrilled me because it was shaped like a lemon. H. Bronnley & Co. UK Ltd. holds a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty the Queen as Toilet Soap Makers.
According to publicity materials I got from the company, Bronnley was founded by a young James Bronnley in 1884. He began his business in London but soon expanded to a Northamptonshire factory, which is still in use today. The company touts itself as one of the only British-owned soap makers still in existence. It carries a full line of triple milled soaps in scents like lemon and neroli, lavender, lime and bergamot, orchid, hibiscus, and rose. This process of triple milling the soap apparently makes it last longer—it is somewhat thicker and what the company calls “luxurious” than other bars soaps I’ve used.
I like Bronnley as a hand soap but didn’t care to shower with it. It really does feel a bit filmy and hard to rinse off, much like my impression of Yardley bar soaps. While I like the smell of both the lemon and the pink bouquet soaps, I also couldn’t use them on my face without somehow getting soap in my eyes.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was relegated the same kind of guest status when she married into the royal family in 1981. She was just 20 years old, blonde, tall, slender, and virginal. Next to Charles at State visits and lavish banquets, she was a stunning sidekick, but no other place was really carved out for her. Even in a televised interview announcing their engagement, Charles suggests Diana—who had never shone academically or in her career as a school teacher—would make a good housewife. He didn’t seem to expect much else from her.
Such expectations underestimated Diana, specifically it overlooked that she could (and would) ground-breakingly transform the image of the royal family. With her as its newest ambassador at the start of the 1980s, it was set to become more personable, more compassionate, more fashionable, more innovative, more cosmopolitan.Where to buy: My contact at Bronnley assured me they'll soon be exporting Bronnley to the United States via their website. In the meantime, you can find it on Amazon or at Merz, 17 E. Monroe St. in Chicago.