I first saw the Royal Collection's Buckingham Palace bath and body products in Harrod's. Speaking of Harrod's, the character of the store has changed drastically since my previous visit, but I will not digress now.
The collection includes hand creams, body lotions, bath oils, soaps, shower gels and colognes in three fragrances - "Queen Victoria's English Lavender", English Rose and White Hyacinth. As though the Royal Collection did not already include a massive array of (rather overpriced) tat (pencils with plastic crowns on top; bookmarks shaped like Henry VIII), souvenirs, china, towels and replica jewellery.
I decided to buy two products as keepsakes, more for the glass jar and the box, and out of curiosity, than to support the Royal Collection Trust.
Scroll down for more about the Royal Collection Buckingham Palace White Hyacinth Hand Cream and Soap.
The packaging of both these products is luxurious. The hand cream costs £12.95 for 200ml. It comes in a glass jar with a metallic lid and weighs a tonne. The soap costs £7.95 and comes in a sturdy trinket box. Both smell great.
The packaging does not say if these are tested on animals or on any of the Royals (or used by them) and the lady in the shop did not know either.
All products from the Royal Collection are made in the UK and are paraben-free. The hand cream is thick and creamy and smells subtly pleasant. No overkill. It sinks in nicely and has helped with my dry-beyond-belief cuticles.
As a rule, I prefer pump-bottles to jars especially for hand creams but this is something I can keep after it is empty and pop in paperclips or something.
The soap smells good and is creamy; but it is not much to write home about. Brands such as Pears, Dove and Cussons make equally good products. The Royal Collection soap costs £7.95 a bar, while Pears is 85p in Sainsbury's. You can get a triple pack of soaps for £15.95, which is a slightly better deal, but still not great value for money; this is "just another" soap bar.
VerdictThese offered some interesting curiosity value. I really like the hand cream, but the soap was not anything special compared to, say, Molton Brown body wash. I wish I had bought the body lotion instead of the soap. It would have made better value for money and, given the performance of the hand cream, would have been of better quality than the soap. The body lotion costs £8.95, which is only a quid more than what I paid for an average soap bar.
I do not regret buying the hand cream at all, and love using it. Though luxuriously packaged, I feel the soap - like most products in the Royal Collection - is overpriced when you look at the quality of the product. I would not mind paying a bomb for a La Mer cream (which I actually did the same day) but £7.95 for a bar of soap that is just as good as Pears, Dove or Cussons? Even the Marseille handmade soaps are far less expensive (at five euros for 600g).
You can check out the entire Royal Collection here - they ship worldwide.