New Blog: A Long Walk from Toronto: Travels on the Trans-Canada Trail

IMG_20151123_144907[1] In addition to posting about history, royalty and Magna Carta here, I am also writing about Toronto’s walking trails, history and landscapes on my new blog, A Long Walk from Toronto: Travels on the Trans-Canada Trail. In A Long Walk from Toronto, I follow the Toronto section of the trail, east of Yonge Street, writing about the history of the various places along the path. The current post, The Prince Edward Viaduct, combines royal history and Toronto history, discussing the famous bridge named for the future King Edward VIII.

Click here to read A Long Walk from Toronto: Travels on the Trans-Canada trail

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Edmonton Journal Interview: Be sure to read Carolyn Harris’ Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada before viewing the document itself

My interview with Michael Hingston, books editor of the Edmonton Journal discusses the Magna Carta Canada exhibition (at the Alberta Legislature until December 29), why everyone should read Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights before viewing Magna Carta, and the impact of Magna Carta on Canada and the world.

Click here to read Michael Hingston: Be sure to read Carolyn Harris’ Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada before viewing the document itself

Click here to purchase your copy of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

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My radio interview with Alberta Morning News about Magna Carta

I was interviewed about my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights by Alberta Morning News, which is broadcast in Calgary and Edmonton. I discuss the enduring legacy of Magna Carta eight centuries after King John reluctantly affixed his seal to the document and the Magna Carta Canada exhibition, which opens at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton on November 23.

The interview is available in the Newstalk 770 AM audio vault – November 22, 7am (The interview begins around 7:05am)

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My Magna Carta Interview in Beyond The Hill

I discussed the history of King John and Magna Carta and its impact on modern Canada, as well as my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, with Beyond The Hill: Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. The interview is on pages 28 and 29 of the magazine.

Click here to read Magna Carta Tours Canada: 800 Years and Its Place in History in Beyond the Hill

Click here to purchase my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

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Magna Carta lecture and book signing in Edmonton on November 26 and 27

The Magna Carta Canada exhibition opens at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton on November 23. Magna Carta will be on display there until December 29. I will be speaking and signing books in Edmonton on November 26 and 27. Here are the public events:

Carolyn Harris Event On November 26 at 12pm I will be speaking at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law about my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights and the enduring impact of Magna Carta on the Modern World. Pizza will be served.

On November 27, I will be signing copies of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights at Audrey’s Books from 12pm until 1:30pm

The book signing is listed in the Edmonton journal as one of the upcoming literary events in the city.

Click here to read my interview with the Ms. Magna Carta faculty blog at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law about writing, the book, the impact of Magna Carta and whether King John should be considered the worst king in English history.

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My article on Magna Carta and Women’s Rights in the Queen’s Alumni Review

My article on Magna Carta and Women’s Rights has been published in the fall 2015 issue of the Queen’s University alumni review. The article discusses the situation of noblewomen in King John’s reign (including the queen, Isabelle of Angoulême), the clauses in Magna Carta that discuss inheritance rights and freedom from forced remarriage for noble widows and how Magna Carta went on to inspire suffragettes and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Click here to read Magna Carta and Women’s Rights in the Queen’s Alumni Review

Click here to purchase my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

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My book “Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette” is now available for purchase

My book, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette, has been published by Palgrave MacMillan as part of the Queenship and Power series.

Review: “Harris’ richly detailed comparative study of Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette offers fresh perspective on how both queens understood their roles as heads of households, wives, and mothers and how, in turn, those roles were interpreted by their husbands’ subjects. Combining a rigorous review of the literature with new research and original analytical insights, Harris has crafted an eminently readable and engaging work that effectively illuminates the complex nature of early modern queenship and revolution.” –Michelle White, UC Foundation Professor of History, University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, USA

About the book: Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England were two of the most notorious queens in European history. They both faced accusations that they had transgressed social, gender and regional norms, and attempted to defend themselves against negative reactions to their behavior. Each queen engaged with the debates of her time concerning the place of women within their families, religion, politics, the public sphere and court culture and attempted to counter criticism of her foreign origins and political influence. The impeachment of Henrietta Maria in 1643 and trial and execution of Marie Antoinette in 1793 were also trials of monarchical government that shaped the English Civil Wars and French Revolution.

In Canada, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette is available from Amazon.ca and variety of other booksellers.

In the USA,Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette (Queenship and Power) is available from Amazon.com and directly from Palgrave Macmillan

In the UK, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette (Queenship and Power) is available from Amazon.co.uk and directly from Palgrave Macmillan

In the USA and UK, order directly from Palgrave Macmillan by December 31 with the discount code PM15THIRTY to receive 30% off. View the Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe flyer here for more information.

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Review of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada in Resource Links Magazine

My 1st book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights has been reviewed in Resource Links Magazine for teachers and recommended for students in Grades 9-12.

Here is an excerpt from the review: “Lavishly illustrated throughout, Dr. Harris gives a well-rounded history of the document and its creation and guiding principles. She explains the impact of the document right through to seeing it as a basis of the United Nations’ Universal declaration of Human Rights. Of particular interest to students may be the importance of the Magna Carta in Canada’s history through to the present day. As well, Dr. Harris looks at the impact of it on the American and French Revolution…Highly recommended for both school and public libraries.

Click here to read the full Resource Links review

Click here to read all reviews of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada

Click to here to purchase Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

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Friday Royal Read: The Tudor Tutor: Your Cheeky Guide to the Dynasty

Every year, thousands of visitors to England follow in the footsteps of the Tudors, a dynasty of monarchs who reigned from the defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 until the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. The top fifty most popular British tourist attractions in 2015 included the Tower of London, where two of King Henry VIII’s six wives – Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard – were beheaded, Greenwich, the birthplace of Henry VIII and his daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I and the British Library, which houses key documents from Henry VIII’s reign, displayed in the 2009 exhibition Henry VIII: Man and Monarch.

Although King Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I are two of the most famous monarchs in English history, knowledge of their lives and reigns varies among visitors to their palaces, birthplaces and collections. There are visitors passionate about the Tudor history who consult comprehensive guides to Tudor sites, such as In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, to ensure that they absorb as much knowledge about these famous Kings and Queens as possible.

There are visitors who have encountered the Tudors through popular culture such as the The Tudors TV series or historical novels such as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall or Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and know a mixture of fact and legend about them. Then, there are visitors who know the names of Tudor monarchs and little else, unsure about the number of Henry VIII’s wives or the influence of all those advisers named Thomas. In The Tudor Tutor: Your Cheeky Guide to the Dynasty, Barb Alexander provides an entertaining and informative introduction to the Tudor Dynasty that should be required in-flight reading for any tourist bound for England’s Tudor trail of historic sites.

One of the great strengths of The Tudor Tutor: Your Cheeky Guide to the Dynasty is the vivid descriptions of Henry VIII’s wives (or Henry’s half dozen as they are described in the book). For those with only a passing knowledge of sixteenth century England, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr blend together or are reduced to unhelpful stereotypes. (In Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, historian David Starkey summarized these simplistic portrayals as “the saint, the schemer, the doormat, the dim fat girl, the sexy teenager and the bluestocking”).

Alexander challenges the stereotypes by giving the reader a sense of the nuanced personalities of all six queens. Catherine of Aragon was pious but she was also a “hands-on queen” who served as Henry VIII’s regent while he was fighting wars in France. Katherine Howard’s time as queen ended in a royal scandal but she was also generous and charitable, providing the elderly Countess of Salisbury with warm clothes when the Countess was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Alexander does an excellent job of explaining the complicated religious politics of the time to those who may be unfamiliar with the full history, matching each wife of Henry VIII to her faith. (Anne Boleyn is entertainingly described as “reformation curious.”) The book is richly illustrated with art by Lisa Graves, giving a sense of fashions of sixteenth century England.

The welcome page asks readers to “Please leave your desire for indoor plumbing, antibiotics and good dental care behind” and a little more information about the day to day lives of Tudor courtiers amidst the religion and politics would have made the book even more engaging for readers new to the time period. Nevertheless, The Tudor Tutor: Your Cheeky Guide to the Dynasty will ensure that more visitors arrive at the Tower of London, Greenwich and Hampton Court knowing the key details about the lives and reigns of England’s Tudor monarchs.

Next week:  Agincourt (Great Battles Series) by Anne Curry

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