As the longest living Rose Queen at 93-years-old, Margaret Huntley Main’s infectious personality and charm continue to validate her selection as the 1940 Rose Queen – an experience that shaped her life.
“Growing up in Pasadena in the 1920s, every girl dreamed of being the Rose Queen,” said Main. “But back then, things operated a little differently from today with the Royal Court and Rose Queen being chosen from only Pasadena City College students.
“I was one of more than 7,000 girls in the Pasadena Junior College district that had to tryout during our gym period,” she said. “I gave up on the idea of being chosen because I thought I was too tall. Most of the Rose Queens back then were no taller than 5’5” and I was 5’8”.”
Margaret’s poise and personality won the judges over. She was selected as a member of the Royal Court and shortly after crowned the 22nd Rose Queen of the Tournament of Roses.
In the 1930s and 40s, being the Rose Queen opened many doors – sometimes to Hollywood. While Margaret was offered a contract from Samuel Goldwyn at MGM Studios, she declined the offer to get married, continue her education and raise a family.
Like many Rose Queens, one of the most memorable moments throughout her reign was riding atop the Royal Court float as it traveled down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.
“I saw what looked like a million people smiling and waving at me – the wave of love that poured out from the crowd was indescribable! I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t stop wondering ‘How did I get so lucky?’”
It was in this moment that Margaret vowed to always honor being the Rose Queen. She continually holds herself to high standards and returns to Pasadena multiple times a year to welcome the incoming Rose Queen upon her Coronation and attend other Tournament of Roses events.
Her advice for all future Royal Court members: Have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute. Be eternally grateful that you are having this wonderful experience!
Margaret Huntley Main congratulates 2015 Rose Queen Madison Elaine Triplett at the Announcement and Coronation of the 97th Rose Queen.