My new monthly Russian Revolution column in Smithsonian Magazine

The Russian Imperial family in 1913

The Russian Imperial family in 1913, four years before the abdication of Czar Nicholas II.

My new monthly column in Smithsonian Magazine discusses the events that led to the Russian Revolutions of 1917: the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in March and the Bolshevik seizure of power in November. One hundred years later, the events of 1917 continue to have a profound impact on Russia and the world. The column discusses events in Russia as they unfolded month by month 100 years ago.

Click here to read the first article in the series: “What You Need to Know First to Understand the Russian Revolution”

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Advance Praise for Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

Advance Praise for my 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, which will be published by Dundurn Press in April 2017:

“Today‘s parents think they have it tough, monitoring screen time and shuttling kids to soccer matches. Imagine being King William I, the Conqueror, who in 1079 had to fight his firstborn son on the battlefield; or Henry II, whose villainous son, John, is today best known as Robin Hood‘s arch enemy. Carolyn Harris‘s history of royal child rearing is a must read for anyone interested in the never-ending saga of royal families and a fascinating read.” (Mark Reid, Editor-in-Chief, Canada’s History Magazine)

“Carolyn Harris has taken an innovative approach with this engaging new work, bringing together a millennia of royal parenting from Edgar “the Peaceable” and Elfrida of Northampton right up to the present day with the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Harris has deftly woven together the history of various rulers, evaluating their relationships with their children and bringing in wider trends in parenting in different eras. She notes both rivalry and tension between parents and children, as aptly illustrated by the Hanoverian monarchs of England, as well as evidence of affection and strong bonds between rulers and their offspring. Any reader with an interest in the history of monarchy or parenting itself will find this an absorbing read, both accessible and replete with interesting information. A real strength of this book is that it puts our present-day fascination with current and recent monarchs and their children in a long-term historical context.” (Dr. Elena (Ellie) Woodacre, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern European History Postgraduate Student Coordinator-Faculty of HSS University of Winchester, editor of The Royal Studies Journal)

“How to raise the kids? It is a question that has confounded parents for centuries. Imagine how parenting has been for royalty throughout the ages? Royal historian Carolyn Harris’s newest book focuses on this very topic. In Raising Royalty, Harris’s detailed research [explores] how royal parenting has evolved throughout the last thousand years. Harris focuses on twenty royal parents – from Edgar the Peaceable and Elfrieda of Northampton to Prince William and Catherine Middleton. This book is delightfully readable, infused with the brilliance of pure scholarship.” (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig, author of Queen Victoria’s Descendants)

“Carolyn Harris’s encyclopedic knowledge infuses Raising Royalty with fascinating insights into the lives of Europe’s Royal Families. Moving through the centuries, Harris highlights unique and evolving family dynamics and traditions right up to our present day. An essential addition to any royal enthusiast’s collection, Raising Royalty provides a captivating look at the families occupying the centre of some of the world’s greatest monarchies.” (Nathan Tidridge, author of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy)

Click here to pre-order your copy of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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My article about Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Rupert’s Land in Canada’s History Magazine is now online

Prince Rupert Canada's history My article about Prince Rupert of the Rhine, cousin of King Charles II and 1st Governor of the Hudson’s Bay company appeared in the October-November 2015 issue of Canada’s History Magazine. The article is now available to read online. Here’s an excerpt:

“Prince Rupert of the Rhine, first governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, had a profound effect on Canada’s history. Following his flight from Prague as an infant, he spent his life constantly on the move, undertaking military service in continental Europe and Great Britain and leading the royalist navy to the west coast of Africa and the Caribbean.

Map of Prince Rupert's travels as Commander of the Royalist Fleet

Map of Prince Rupert’s travels as Commander of the Royalist Fleet

Rupert’s travels enabled him to recognize the significance of Radisson’s and Des Groseilliers’ discoveries and to envision an enterprise with the vast scope of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Moreover, the grant of Rupert’s Land to the company discouraged the Americans from expanding northward after the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence in the late eighteenth century.

Prince Rupert not only left his mark on the map of Canada, he helped to forge the modern nation.”

Click here to read “Canada’s Warrior Prince” on the Canada’s History Magazine Website.

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“Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution” begins January 11, 2017

marie_antoinette My eight week afternoon course about Queen Marie Antoinette of France and the French Revolution begins January 11, 2017 at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies. All are welcome.

Click here for more information and to register.

More than 200 years after her execution, Queen Marie Antoinette is still one of the most famous and controversial figures in European history. In late 18th-century France, her reputation influenced debates about the role of women in politics, their families and the arts. Austrian-born, her position at the top of French society informed criticism of the monarchy and contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. Her influence on popular culture continues today.

Click here for more information and to register.

Click here to purchase my book, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette

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Mashable Interview: How accurate is Netflix’s ‘The Crown’?

Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the Queen and Prince Philip in the  Netflix series, The Crown

Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the Queen and Prince Philip in the Netflix series, The Crown

I have been enjoying watching The Crown series on Netflix, which dramatizes the early years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. I have been posting comments about the major themes and historical events in each episode on twitter @royalhistorian .

I also discussed the first four episodes of The Crown with Rachel Thompson for her article on, How accurate is Netflix’s ‘The Crown’? My interview covered portrayals of King George VI’s temperment, Prince Philip’s adjustment to life as the Queen’s consort and the Duke of Windsor’s place in the royal family.

Click here to read the interview with Rachel Thompson at

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New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Lady Aberdeen

Lady Aberdeen

Lady Aberdeen

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is a profile of Lady Aberdeen

Ishbel Marie Marjoribanks Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, vice-regal consort, author, philanthropist and women’s rights advocate (born 14 March 1857 in London, United Kingdom; died 18 April 1939 in Aberdeen, United Kingdom). As Vice-Regal Consort to Governor General John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, from 1893 until 1898, Lady Aberdeen organized the National Council of Women in Canada, became first sponsor of the Women’s Art Association of Canada and helped found the Victorian Order of Nurses. Lady Aberdeen was the first woman to address the House of Commons and the first woman to receive an honorary degree in Canada.

Click here to read my article about Lady Aberdeen in the Canadian Encyclopedia

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New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Princess Louise

Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter.

Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter.

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is a profile of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, a daughter of Queen Victoria who became Canada’s vice regal consort from 1878 until 1883.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Marchioness of Lorne was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and vice-regal consort of Canada from 1878 to 1883 (born 18 March 1848 in London, United Kingdom; died 3 December 1939 in London, United Kingdom). Louise was the first member of the royal family to visit British Columbia. As vice-regal consort, she promoted the arts in Canada, including the founding of the National Gallery of Canada and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Lake Louise and the province of Alberta were named in her honour.

Click here to read my article about Princess Louise in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

For more of my writing about Princess Louise in Canada, see my chapter “Royalty at Rideau Hall: Lord Lorne, Princess Louise and the Emergence of the Canadian Crown” in Canada and the Crown: Essays in Constitutional Monarchy

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Upcoming Guest Lectures in 2016

Here is my schedule of guest lectures for October, November and December 2016. Click on the links for more information including times and ticket prices:

October 26, 2016, The Royal Commonwealth Society of Toronto Speaker Series: The Queen and Commonwealth, Arts and Letters Club, Toronto

November 2, 2016, Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World, Aurora Cultural Centre, Aurora.

November 7, 2016, The Stateswoman: Perceptions of Female Leaders in 20th and 21st Centuries, Temple Emanu-el Lecture Series, Toronto

November 20, 2016, Victorian Christmas Traditions, Toronto’s 1st Post Office, Toronto 

December 1-19, 2016: 6 Lectures about Royalty and the Atlantic World Aboard the Azamara Quest during the Costa Rica, Panama Canal and ABCs cruise

 Click here to view a selection of lectures about my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights.


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PhD Talk Interview: “This Is How I Work”

deskI have been interviewed by Eva Lantsoght at the PhD talk blog for the series “This Is How I Work.” I discuss my work habits including the technology (and the books) in my home office, balancing different projects and my experiences since completing my history PhD in 2012.

Click here to read “I am Carolyn Harris and this is how I work” on the PhD Talk blog

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CTV News Channel Interview: Princess Louise and Royal Children on Tour

Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge in Victoria, British Columbia (Photo Credit: The Canadian Press)

Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge in Victoria, British Columbia (Photo Credit: The Canadian Press)

The royal tour of British Columbia and the Yukon by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte ended today with a series of engagements devoted to young people and mental health advocacy and a departure from Victoria harbour where both royal children waved to the crowds.

My interview with CTV News Channel today discussed the first royal tour of British Columbia: the visit by Princess Louise and her husband, Governor General Lord Lorne in 1882. I also talked about yesterday’s children’s party at Government House, which George and Charlotte attended along with their parents, William and Kate.

Click here to watch my interview with CTV News Channel.

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