Nova Scotia Book Tour Dates in September

I will be giving readings, delivering lectures and signing books in Wolfville and Halifax, Nova Scotia in September. All are welcome! Here’s the book tour schedule:

September 14, 7pm: I will be giving a reading from my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting at The Box of Delight’s Bookshop in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Book signing to follow. More information available here.

September 15, 2:30pm: I will be giving a lecture about my 2nd book, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette for the Early Modern Studies Program at the University of King’s College in Halifax. Signed copies of all three of my books will be available for purchase. Click here for more information.

September 16, 12pm: I will be participating in the Word on Street Halifax festival, giving a presentation about my 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting at the Halifax Central Library. Book signing to follow. The full schedule for the festival is available here.

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Hello! Magazine Interview: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement: 7 burning questions answered

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (photo credit: Hello! Magazine)

I discussed the protocol that would arise if Prince Harry became engaged to actress Meghan Markle in a recent interview with Hello! Magazine. The Royal Marriages act of 1772 required all descendants of King George II (with the exception of the descendants of princesses who married foreigners) to receive the permission of the monarch in order to contract a legal marriage.

Since the succession reforms of 2015, only the first six people in the line of succession require the permission of the monarch to marry. As Prince Harry is currently 5th in line to the throne, after his father Prince Charles, older brother Prince William and nephew and niece, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, he will need the permission of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, to marry.

Click here to read “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement: 7 burning questions answered” in Hello! Magazine 

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Book Reviews: The Penguin Monarchs Series: Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II

Edward VII: The Cosmopolitan King by Richard Davenport-Hines is filled with fascinating details about the King’s life including his enthusiasm for games (he had a bowling alley installed at the Marlborough Club) and popularity across Europe (there is still a park named for the King in Lisbon, Portugual) Davenport-Hines captures the atmosphere of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras as the Prince of Wales set the tone for the country house parties of “the smart set.” The author is less successful at describing the king’s personal relationships and engages in needless criticism of the physical appearance of Edward VII’s wife, Queen Alexandra, daughter-in-law, Queen Mary and daughters, Princesses Louise, Victoria and Maud. The 1860 tour of Canada and the United States, Edward’s first overseas tour as Prince of Wales, is almost entirely ignored. ***

Further Reading:

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley

George V: The Unexpected King is the best of the biographies of 20th century monarchs in the series. David Cannadine strikes the right balance between the King’s personal life and political views and presents his reign as a turning point when the royal family turned their personal attention from the extended family of European monarchs to the wider British Empire. George’s decision to deny asylum to his cousin, Czar Nicholas II in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, which had tragic consequences, is presented in this context of gradual withdrawal from the close bonds that united Europe’s royal houses before the First World War. Cannadine also discusses how the reign of George V saw the invention or revival of modern royal traditions including the Windsor name, the monarch’s annual Christmas broadcast and royal weddings in Westminster Abbey. *****

Further Reading:

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan

Edward VIII: The Uncrowned King attempts to provide a balanced portrait of the controversial king who abdicated in 1936 to marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson. Piers Brendon describes Edward’s accomplishments as Prince of Wales including raising morale on the Western Front during the First World War and successful tours of the British Empire and Dominions during the 1920s and 1930s. Brendon also examines Edward’s difficult relationship with his parents, limited education, self-centered outlook on life, and the frequent contrast between his public and private behaviour as Prince of Wales and King. Edward’s unsavoury political activities including his enthusiasm for Nazi Germany and interference in a murder case in the Bahamas do not receive enough attention and the tone of the biography is sometimes overly sympathetic to the King. ***

Further Reading:

The Woman Before Wallis by Andrew Rose

That Woman by Anne Sebba

 George VI: The Dutiful King presents Queen Elizabeth II’s father as a monarch who spent most his life overcoming his personal inclination for a quiet, retiring life to do his duty as King after the abdication of his elder brother, Edward VIII. Philip Ziegler, who previously wrote a full length biography of Edward VIII,  provides a nuanced portrait of George VI as a political figure, especially his popularity during the Second World War. Ziegler pays less attention to the King’s personal life. George VI’s successful marriage to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) receives some attention but the example and training that George VI provided for his daughter and successor should have received greater attention in this otherwise insightful biography. ****

Further Reading:

Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury

Elizabeth II: The Steadfast is a warm tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by Douglas Hurd, who has spent time with the Queen as British Home Secretary then Foreign Secretary. The preface is by the Queen’s grandson, HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William). The Queen is the most well traveled monarch in history and Hurd captures the atmosphere of royal tours. Hurd also discusses the Queen’s approach to her role, which combines caution and reserve with a willingness to embrace new technologies from television for the coronation in 1953 to social media for royal tours today. The scope of the Queen’s long reign, however, cannot be summarized in a short biography and there are whole aspects of the Queen’s reign, including her stewardship of the Royal Collection of art and subtle political influence in her role as Head of the Commonwealth, which are discussed in much greater detail in other books.  ***

Further Reading: 

Monarchy and the End of Empire by Philip Murphy

Our Queen by Robert Hardman

The Diamond Queen by Andrew Marr

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith

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Updated Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Prince Charles (HRH The Prince of Wales)

The Prince of Wales

I have updated my article about Prince Charles in the Canadian Encyclopedia to include the 2017 tour of Nunavut, Ontario and the National Capital region in honour of the 15oth anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Charles and Camilla spent Canada Day in the National Capital Region. Charles first met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and then was invested as Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada. He later made a speech on Parliament Hill, which included extensive remarks in French and a warm tribute to Governor General David Johnston, whose term ends in September 2017. During their time in the National Capital Region, the royal couple also helped open the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History, unveiled the Queen’s Entrance at Rideau Hall and reopened the newly renovated National Arts Centre.”

Click here to read Prince Charles (HRH The Prince of Wales) in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

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National Post Interview: Light everything on fire: What would have happened had the Nazis invaded Britain

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in British Columbia in 1939

I discussed the royal family during the Second World War with Tristin Hopper at the National Post. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their children, the future Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret were determined to remain together in Britain but there were contingency plans in the event of a German invasion, including the purchase of Hatley Castle in British Columbia by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King as a possible wartime residence for the royal family.

Click here to read “Light everything on fire: What would have happened had the Nazis invaded Britain” in the National Post

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Canada’s History Magazine Feature Article: The Queen’s Land

My latest feature article for Canada’s History Magazine is entitled “The Queen’s Land: The colourful stories behind the royal names embedded in Canada’s geography.” I discuss the royal personages who gave their names to Canada’s cities and landscapes, revealing the fascinating historical figures behind Canadian places such as Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia; Fredericton, New Brunswick; Prince Edward Island; Lake Louise, Alberta; and Prince George, British Columbia.

The August-September issue of Canada’s History Magazine will be available on newsstands in the coming weeks.

Click here to read the Table of Contents of the August-September Issue of Canada’s History Magazine

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New Review of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in the History of Royal Women Blog

Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting has been reviewed on the History of Royal Women Blog.

Here’s an except of the review:

“The difficulty of raising children in such an unusual role in life is quite an interesting subject, and Carolyn Harris has even managed to build bridges between the different people to make it a flowing story. I would highly recommend this book.”

Click here to read the full review on the History of Royal Women blog

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Toronto Sun Interview: Canada and the royals during the wars

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

I discussed the history of the monarchy in Canada during the First and Second World Wars with Antonella Artuso from the Toronto Sun. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

“Historian Carolyn Harris, who has just released her third book, Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting, said the monarchy retained tight links with Canada throughout both world wars, from 1914-18 and from 1939-45.

The Earl of Athlone (seated right) with the Allied leaders at the Quebec Conferences.

“What’s very striking about the First and Second World Wars is that the governor general was a member of the royal family, that Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, was governor general for much of WWI … and his daughter, Princess Patricia, became extremely popular during her time in Canada, that her image was on the $1 bill for a year during the First World War and she also became patroness of the Princess Patricia’s (Canadian) Light Infantry,” Harris said. “There was a lot of engagement with Canadian troops.”

Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, served as governor general from 1940 to ’46, and he and his wife, Princess Alice of Albany, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, hosted European royalty fleeing the Nazis during WWII.”

Click here to read “Canada and the royals during the wars” in the Toronto Sun

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CBC News Network Interview: The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Visit Prince Edward County

Prince Charles tours the Wellington Farmer’s Market in Ontario, Friday June 30, 2017.
[Photo credit: Peter J. Thompson]

I discussed the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Prince Edward County on the CBC News Network this afternoon including Prince Charles’s interest in organic farming, the first royal walkabout in Canada in 1939 and the history of Queen Elizabeth II’s Canadian tours

Click here to watch: “Carolyn Harris interview – Live coverage of royal tour on CBC News Network”

I am also quoted in the CBC article “Retired soldier takes to life on the farm, with help from Prince Charles”

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CBC News Interview: Is Prince Charles misunderstood?

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

I discussed the Prince of Wales’s reputation and philanthropy with Janet Davison at CBC News, in advance of his tour of Canada with the Duchess of Cornwall, which will include Nunavut, Prince Edward County and Ottawa for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“In Canada, there’s also a feeling the public perception of Charles has been changing. “I have the sense that it’s much more positive now than it has been in the past,” says Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based author and royal historian.

“Some of the causes Prince Charles has been engaging with have become very topical and raised the profile of these tours,” says Harris, whose book Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting was recently published.”

Click here to read “Is Prince Charles Misunderstood at CBC News”

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