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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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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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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New Review of Raising Royalty in History of Royals Magazine

My 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, has received a full page review  in History of Royals Magazine in the UK.

“The book is a fascinating source of well researched information and a great addition to the shelves of royalists and historians alike. Trying to cram 1,000 years worth of knowledge into one book is no mean feat and Harris does it with flair, making the information easily digested.”

Click here to read the review of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in History of Royals Magazine

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How Kings and Queens Raised Their Children – An Interview with Carolyn Harris

 My latest interview about my new book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting examines how royal parenting gained a negative reputation, why the book examines royal parenting over the course of a thousand years and what the biggest difference is between royal parenting in medieval times and modern times.

Click here to read “How Kings and Queens Raised Their Children” at

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10 Medieval Royal Parents Whose Decisions Influence the Lives of Royal Children Today

King Edward III, who reigned from 1327-1377. The descendants of his five sons fought against each other in the Wars of the Roses.

In my recent article for, I discuss medieval royal parents who made decisions that continue to shape the lives of royal children today. From Edgar the Peaceable and Elfrida, who created a defined royal family in the public eye more than one thousand years ago to Henry III and Eleanor Provence who popularized Edward, Beatrice and Margaret as royal names to Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, whose son Edward, the Black Prince was the first heir to the throne to become Duke of Cornwall, aspects of medieval royal parenting continue to be influential for the royal family in the twenty-first century.

Click here to read “10 Medieval Royal Parents Whose Decisions Influence the Lives of Royal Children Today” at

For more about royal parents through the centuries, pick up a copy of my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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Upcoming Book Signings in Brockville and Ottawa: June 21 and June 22

I will signing copies of my new book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in Brockville and Ottawa this June.

On June 21, there will be an afternoon tea&royal parenting talk followed by a book signing at Fulford Place museum in Brockville from 2-4pm. See the Brockville Recorder and Times for more information, including ticket prices.

On June 22, I will be signing books at Chapters Rideau in Ottawa from 12-2pm. More details are available here. All are welcome!

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New Smithsonian Article: Medieval Mothers Had to Marry and Murder to Get Their Way

A 19th century illustration imagining Queen Elfrida welcoming her stepson King Edward the Martyr to her home, moments before his murder by one of her henchmen.

My Mother’s Day article in Smithsonian Magazine discusses the medieval English royal mothers who feature in the first few chapters of my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, including Elfrida, Emma of Normandy, Matilda of Flanders and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Elfrida and Emma dealt with their children’s rivals in very different ways: Elfrida may have arranged the murder of her stepson while Emma married an invading Viking king who claimed her son’s throne. Matilda and Eleanor, the queens to William and the Conqueror and Henry II respectively, intervened in warfare between their husbands and sons.

Click here to read “Medieval Mothers Had to Marry and Murder to Get Their Way” in Smithsonian Magazine

 Click here to purchase my book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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National Post review of Raising Royalty: “Murder your children’s rivals, and other parenting tips from royals”

19th century portrait of Peter the Great interrogating his son, Alexei

My new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, is featured in the weekend National Post including quotes from the chapters about Peter the Great, Queen Victoria and Henry VIII.

“[The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge] want Princess Charlotte and Prince George to go to the local school. They want to be hands-on parents. On the day George left the hospital, William wrestled with the lad’s car seat, a performance reenacted daily by new dads the world over. The message they hoped you’d glean from it? Will and Kate are just like you and me.

In her new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, Canadian historian Carolyn Harris reveals there may be other parenting tips to be gleaned from royal watching. With Harris as inspiration, we offer six tips from moms and dads who also happened to be monarchs.”

Click here to read “Murder your children’s rivals, and other parenting tips from royals” in the National Post

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New Quartz Article: The history of British royalty proves raising a kid is always a group effort

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

My latest article in Quartz Magazine discussed the role of the extended family in royal parenting over the centuries.

“As I discuss in my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, the upbringing of a royal child has always included a wide circle of people including grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, tutors, nannies and governesses. In fact, royal parenting has acquired a negative reputation over the centuries because of how often kings and queens delegated the daily routine of childrearing to their extended family and household. But there’s another way of looking at this tradition: Royal children have had a large support system during both good times and difficult times.”

Click here to read “The history of British royalty proves raising a kid is always a group effort” in Quartz Magazine

Click here to purchase my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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