CBC Interview: Royal Baby 2: The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne

Queen Mary with her granddaughters Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. George V's consort believed that younger royals should be prepared for their future life of public service.

Queen Mary with her granddaughters Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.

My latest interview for CBC.ca discusses “The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne.” For recent “spares” such as Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, there has been the challenge of carving out a meaningful role in public life. Both Andrew and Harry experienced success in their military careers but Andrew has faced criticism since leaving the military and there is speculation that Harry may face challenges finding a new role once he finishes his secondment with the Australian forces.

For the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, life as “the spare” initially seemed glamorous but she was discouraged from marrying the man she loved and, like Prince Andrew, was criticized for her travel and spending. Before the current reign, however, “the spare” had a good chance of succeeding to the throne. George VI, George V, Charles I and Henry VIII were all second sons while Elizabeth I and Queen Anne were second daughters. There have been other monarchs were born even further down the line of succession. Henry I, King John and Richard III were all fourth surviving sons and Queen Victoria was the daughter of King George III’s fourth son.

Click here to read “Royal Baby 2: The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne”

National Post Interview: ‘Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers

Princess Alice of Bettenberg (1885-1969), mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885-1969), mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

My latest interview on the history of royal baby names, “Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers” is in the National Post. There is widespread speculation that the royal baby will be a girl. Both of the names favoured by the British bookmakers, Alice and Charlotte have royal antecedents. Queen Victoria’s second daughter was Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt and her great-granddaughter was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip. One of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone was the consort of the Governor General of Canada during the Second World War.

Charlotte was a popular royal name in Georgian England as it was the name of George III’s queen, Charlotte of Mecklenberg, her daughter, Princess Charlotte of Württemberg and her ill fated granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales, who died in childbirth in 1817, giving birth to a stillborn son. Princess Charlotte of Wales was second-in-line to the throne at the time of her death and her pregnancy was the first instance of bookmakers taking bets on whether a royal baby would be a boy or a girl.

Click here to read Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers

New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: The 1939 Royal Tour

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Toronto City Hall in 1939

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Toronto City Hall

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses the 1939 Royal Tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The 1939 royal tour by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was the first time a reigning Canadian monarch had stepped foot in this country. It was the most successful royal tour in Canadian history, with enormous crowds greeting the royal couple as they crossed the country by train. The tour, which included a four-day visit to the United States, also reinforced critical Anglo-Canadian and Anglo-American relations on the eve of the Second World War.

Click here to read “The 1939 Royal Tour” in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Toronto Star Interview: “British royal ‘spares’ seldom reign, but they do seem to have more fun”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at The 2011 Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum in London.  (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at The 2011 Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum in London. (Photo by Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

My interview with Katie Daubs in the Toronto Star discusses the role of “the spare” in recent royal history from the future King George V to Prince Harry today. Younger royal children are often portrayed in the press as more spontaneous and fun-loving than the eldest sibling who is destined to reign. There are times, however, when the spare becomes the heir. Both Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather, George V, and father, George VI, were second sons who became monarchs due to unexpected circumstances.

Click here to read “British royal ‘spares’ seldom reign, but they do seem to have more fun.”

CBC Interview: A decided lack of fuss over William and Kate’s Royal Baby 2

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrive in Sydney. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrive in Sydney. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

My latest CBC interview compares the more subdued popular interest in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second baby with the media frenzy that accompanied the birth of Prince George in 2013. In 2013, journalists were camped outside the hospital for nearly a month before the arrival of the royal baby and the final weeks before the birth were known as “The Great Kate Wait.” In 2015, the second royal baby has been overshadowed by British politics: the announcement was made just before the Scottish independence referendum and the birth will take place just before the United Kingdom general election.

Click here to read “A decided lack of fuss over William and Kate’s Royal Baby 2″ at CBC.ca

 

Interview: What will royal Baby Cambridge No. 2 be named?

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at the polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at a polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child is due later this month and speculation continues regarding possible names. My most recent interview about the history of royal baby names discusses some of the possible contenders including Arthur, which is one of Prince William’s middle names and Charlotte, which has a royal pedigree and has been used by the Middleton family.  The article also mentions my forthcoming book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

Click here to read What will royal Baby Cambridge No. 2 be named?

CBC Interview: Royal baby names: What’s likely for William and Kate’s 2nd child?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate – are expecting their second child this month. I discussed possible royal baby names with Janet Davison at CBC.ca. There are numerous predictions that “Alice” will be chosen for a girl. Alice was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite names for girls and the name of a number of her descendants including Prince Philip’s mother. I also discuss the impact of royalty on baby name choices in Canada, including the reason “Louise” and “Lorne” became popular Canadian baby names by the early twentieth century.

Click here to read Royal baby names: What’s likely for William and Kate’s 2nd child?

King Edward I and Magna Carta in 1300

King Edward I

King Edward I

My latest article on the Magna Carta 2015 Canada site discusses the last exemplification of the Great Charter in the thirteenth century: the 1300 Magna Carta.  King John’s grandson, King Edward I reissued Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest numerous times over the course of his reign to ensure that he had the necessary financial and military support for his wars in Scotland, Wales and France. Today, there are seven known copies of Magna Carta from 1300. The Durham Cathedral Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest from 1300 will be touring Canada this year.

Click here to read King Edward I and Magna Carta in 1300 on the Magna Carta Canada site.

My forthcoming book,Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights will be published on May 2, 2015.

Friday Royal Read: The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy

 All three of King Henry VIII’s legitimate children reigned after him as King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. Nevertheless, Henry VIII’s relationship with his six wives has received more attention than his influence over his children. In The Children of Henry VIII, John Guy, one of the leading scholars of the Tudor period and author of Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart and the Penguin Monarchs biography of Henry VIII looks at how Henry VIII’s marriages, politics and personality shaped his children and the monarchs they would become.

Guy provides fresh insights about the intimate world of the Tudor dynasty from Henry VIII’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon in 1509 to the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. Henry VIII had six wives and numerous mistresses yet only four acknowledged children survived to adulthood: one child from each of his first three marriages and a single illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. Tudor medical history is therefore at centre of The Children of Henry VIII as Guy discusses the conditions that may have shaped Henry VIII’s family and the course of English history. Guy speculates that Henry VIII’s elder brother (and Catherine of Aragon’s first husband) may have died of testicular cancer, which prevented the consummation of the marriage. Guy also discusses whether Henry VIII had a rare genetic condition that precluded fathering more than one healthy child with each of his wives and mistresses.

The question of how royal children should be raised and educated in sixteenth century England is also discussed throughout Guy’s work. Perhaps because there were so few royal children in the Tudor dynasty, Henry VIII’s wives were often eager to take an active role in childrearing that was unusual for a queen consort. Catherine of Aragon corrected her daughter Mary’s latin exercises, Anne Boleyn lavished attention and presents on her daughter Elizabeth and Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, took an active interest in the upbringing and education of her younger stepchildren. While Henry VIII was an unpredictable father, alternating between lavishing attention on Mary, Elizabeth and Henry Fitzroy and ignoring them depending on the state of his marriages, their mothers took a strong interest in them.

Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy is little known today because he died in 1536 at the age of only seventeen and therefore did not play a role in the succession after Henry VIII’s death. Guy restores Henry Fitzroy to his proper place in history, discussing how he was a direct threat to the succession prospects of the future Mary I during Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII feared that female succession would destabilize England and explored the possibility of making his illegitimate son his heir. At a time when the laws of succession were still relatively flexible Guy explains, “Who was king, constitutionally, was a question of whom Parliament would recognize as king..” Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn did not only diminish Mary’s prospects but the place of Henry Fitzroy, who was suddenly ignored by his father and distrusted by the new queen.

Guy provides a detailed analysis of the four acknowledged children of Henry VIII: Mary I, Henry Fitzroy, Elizabeth I and Edward VI but there is no discussion of whether Henry had further children who were not publicly acknowledged beyond a dismissal of rumors surrounding his mistress Mary Boleyn’s son, Henry Carey. There were numerous other alleged illegitimate children of Henry VIII including Mary Boleyn’s daughter, Catherine Carey, Henry Fitzroy’s younger sister and an obscure young woman named Ethelreda Malte. Guy’s theories about Henry VIII’s medical history and attitudes toward his children are relevant to the question of how many children were fathered by the king and the book could have included a chapter analyzing the speculation surrounding Catherine Carey, Ethelreda Malte and others.

The Children of Henry VIII is an engaging and thought provoking account of the changing fortunes of Henry VIII’s children. Only the king’s sole legitimate son, the future Edward VI, enjoyed the consistent attention of his father. Mary, Elizabeth and Henry Fitzroy alternated between being showered with honours and almost entirely ignored.  Henry VIII’s treatment of his children shaped their relations with one another and the monarchs that three of them would become.

Next week: Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I by Charles Spencer

A Sample Chapter of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada is Now Available Online

Magna Carta coverMy forthcoming book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights will be published on May 2.

A sample chapter from the book is now available online. Click here to read Part 1: The History of Kings, Barons and the Commons.

In Canada, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights is available for pre-order from amazon.ca and Indigo. 

In the USA, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights is available for pre-order from amazon.com

In the UK, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights is available for pre-order from amazon.co.uk