We Have Princess Margaret To Thank For Our Daily Horoscope

The royal had a hand in creating modern astrology

If you’re anything like me, your morning tends to look a little like this: wash face, make coffee, check horoscope app. Horoscopes have become part of our daily routine, and are often used to explain unusual and extraordinary changes in our mood, behaviour and life (Mercury retrograde, duh). But who would have thought that we actually have a royal to thank for the habit?

According to The Washington Post, the modern horoscope dates back to Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Astrologer R.H. Naylor wrote a column titled “What the Stars Foretell for the New Princess,” which was published by the Sunday Express three days after her birthday. When what he predicted came true, he instantly shot to astrologer fame, and so began the trend of people obsessing over their daily horoscopes.

“Everybody is interested in the future. Can it be told by the stars?” Naylor wrote. He continued by adding “events of tremendous importance to the royal family and the nation” would happen in Margaret’s seventh year. Our good mate Naylor was indeed correct.

(Credit: Getty Images)

When Margaret was six (close enough), King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. That bumped Margaret up to the little sister of the future queen, so saying “events of tremendous importance” may have been a little bit of an understatement.

So, how did we go from Princess Margaret to our 12 star signs? Thanks to the success of Margaret’s horoscope, Naylor earned himself a regular column in the newspaper, but was struggling to answer the reported 28,000 daily letters he’d receive. Craig Brown, Princess Margaret’s biographer, wrote about Naylor’s revolutionary methods in Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret: “He divided 360-degree transit into 12 zones, each of them spanning 30 degrees. He then named each of the 12 zones after a different celestial constellation, and offered blocks of predictions for each birth sign.”

Although it is definitely worth adding that horoscopes do date back to Ancient Greece and Babylonia, Naylor’s simplification and the access he gave readers at the time, was revolutionary. The next time you’re trying to understand if you and the cute boy you just met are the perfect astrological match, you can give a little nod (and thank you) to Margaret.

Related stories