Prince Lorenzo Borghese proves he’s more than just a Bachelor
By Dustin Fitzharris
Prince Lorenzo Borghese was looking for love, and the entire country had a front-row seat. After weeks of secret rendezvous and elaborate dates with one woman after another on ABC’s The Bachelor, his final rose (and heart) went to schoolteacher Jennifer Wilson. While the relationship didn’t last, the show offered Borghese the opportunity to introduce himself to America—or at least a version of himself.
“When I was asked to do The Bachelor, they asked me if I played polo or hung out in a castle,” recalls Borghese, who was born in Milan and raised in Connecticut and New Jersey. “They wanted me to be what people pictured a prince to be. They focused on putting me in a villa that my family once owned 100 years ago and made it look like I was just a prince living in Italy doing nothing but dating women.”
What the public didn’t see was that while Borghese was busy playing “Prince Charming” on TV, behind the scenes he was running Royal Treatment, a company that sells luxury bath and grooming products for animals.
Founded in 2003, his company was inspired by Belle, his black Lab. Belle loved to go into the lake and splash around, but her water play left her with that “wet dog” smell. As a result, Borghese would bathe her several times a week. But as clean as Belle was, Borghese couldn’t understand why he began to see white flakes all over her coat. He took her to the vet and was informed he was bathing her too much—the shampoos were drying out her skin.
This puzzled Borghese. He wondered how we could bathe ourselves daily and not have a problem, but Belle was suffering. Borghese lives by the motto: If you see a problem, fix it. And that’s just what he intended to do to help Belle.
In fact, Borghese wasn’t thinking of starting a company when he began his research. He only wanted to make life better for Belle. But after spending hundreds of hours at the library, he discovered that specific ingredients were at the root of the dryness. He decided to create a product free of sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, certain soaps, parabens, and alcohol. And, after learning about the healing properties of other specific ingredients, he knew they must be included in any product he put on the market.
Starting a business was nothing new to Borghese; he comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His father, Prince Francesco Marco Luigi Costanzo Borghese, began his career at Revlon in Italy, eventually joining forces with Max Factor, before moving the family to the U.S. for an opportunity at the Mennen Company. Soon after, he formed his own cosmetic company, LPI, in New York. Borghese’s grandmother, Princess Marcella Borghese, created the Borghese cosmetics line, which eventually became a part of Revlon. Given his background, it would have been easy for Borghese to find success within his family’s companies, but he knew he needed to do something that would make him happy.
“I think you need to be really passionate about what you’re doing in order to be good at it,” he says. “What I’m passionate about is animals, and the fact that I’m in this industry makes me happy every day.”
Borghese’s paternal ancestors include Napoleon’s sister. His family’s Papal titles (prince and princess) came from Pope Paul V in the early 1600s. But don’t let the pomp and circumstance fool you.
“Everyone thinks we were born privileged. The bottom line is we do have to work,” Borghese explains. “I’ve seen how hard my father has worked. My mother is a hard worker, too. I think even if we didn’t have to work, we still would. The whole family believes that you are here to contribute.”
“I think a lot of people in this world revolve around greed and money. A lot of companies are there to solely make money,” Borghese observes. Instead, he is set on making a difference for people and their pets.
As a kid, the little prince was obsessed with sports and video games. However, throughout his childhood, he enjoyed spending time with the various dogs, fish, guinea pigs, parrots, cats, and horses who shared his home. He credits his muse, Belle, for reigniting his passion for animals. Belle was his 21st birthday gift from his girlfriend of nine years (and, to date, his best gift ever). The “sweetest, smartest dog ever” became their child, and when Borghese and his true love broke up, Belle was the reason they were able to stay friends—so his girlfriend could visit her.
As Royal Treatment is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Borghese acknowledges he has seen a change in the pet industry. More products are free of harmful ingredients—but, according to Borghese, there is still work to be done. Since animal products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, he believes some companies are misrepresenting the truth by stating they use “all-natural” ingredients, but have no way of proving their claims. Borghese would like to see stricter guidelines. He currently sells his line on HSN, which employs stringent rules and high quality standards for any item they stand behind, he says.
Borghese enjoys using his position to help raise awareness, and he is honored to be an ambassador to the American Humane Association (AHA). He is also the president and co-founder of Animal Aid USA, an organization that empowers people to make changes for shelter animals, such as advocating for a ban on using gas chambers as a method for euthanasia. In addition, Animal Aid conducts monthly rescue missions, brings awareness to laws that need to be changed to protect animals, and raises funds to support spay and neutering.
This past March, Royal Treatment began donating $2 to Animal Aid on behalf of every new customer. On top of that, 5 percent of the net proceeds from Internet sales are going directly to Animal Aid, earmarked to help veterinarians offer free spay and neutering services in low-income communities.
At 40, Borghese is living his dream, while still retaining the title that made him a household name in the States—bachelor! However, that could all change soon. Recently he started dating entrepreneur and socialite Tinsley Mortimer. The two have many similar interests, including their love for animals. In fact, they came together through AHA since Mortimer is also an ambassador. The other thing they have in common: “I used to date her sister,” Borghese laughs.
With his involvement in animal welfare organizations, his premium products for pets, and his commitment to leaving this world a better place than he found it, Borghese is living up to the title he was born with—he’s an all-around prince of a guy.