Were "Margaratologists," Fans of Princess Margaret, Real?

'The Crown' season 3 features an episode titled "Margaretology," about Princess Margaret fans and her infamous trip to the United States.

Royal Wave
(Image credit: George Freston)

Spoilers for The Crown season 3. Sometimes it seems like royal fervor is more enthusiastic (and critical) now more than ever. Fans of Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton rush to buy the clothing they wear—also known as The Duchess Effect—and love to read about any and all gossip associated with the two young royals. But it turns out that's not exactly a new thing: Even without the benefit of the Internet, Princess Margaret was much beloved by the public and media throughout her entire life, and she inspired rabid devotion by her fans.

Season three of The Crown dives into Margaret's popularity later in life, even referencing the term "Margaretologists" for devoted American fans that came to see the princess in droves during her trip to the United States. But is that true? Did American fans term themselves Margaretologists after she won their hearts?

In the show, Margaret's trip to the U.S. is a roaring success.

In an episode called "Margaretology," The Crown indicates that Princess Margaret fans who have "delighted" in Margaret's charm and poise (especially in contrast to her stuffy old sister) begin referring to themselves "Margaretologists." Elizabeth, back home in England, is glad to hear that there have been no disasters regarding her reckless and daring younger sister, but is irritated anew at how loved she is. Margaret did in fact take a trip to the U.S. in 1965, but apparently the trip met with mixed reviews, she ended up insulting a number of people, and she was "banned" from coming to the U.S. in the 1970s. Soooo there was some creative license in the show, is what I'm saying.

Royals In America

Margaret and Tony Snowdon in San Francisco during their 1965 U.S. trip.

(Image credit: Harry Benson)

In real life, Margaretologists were fans even earlier.

So, according to a source, that was indeed the name for Princess Margaret fans. In the Economist obituary, though, it indicates that the nickname was used before Margaret went to the United States or even before she was married to Snowdon. In fact, the word was in use while she was courting her first love Peter Townsend. "Margaretologists noted that Townsend looked a bit like Gregory Peck, who had starred with Audrey Hepburn."

And it doesn't specify whether the coin was specific to her American fans, or fans in general; although Margaret by that point may have been more well-known in Britain, so it stands to reason that might have been her fans' nickname in her home country and all over the world. But it makes sense—she was charming and beautiful, and fans loved her just as much as (sometimes more than) her sister Elizabeth.

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Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.