New Book Chapter: Royal Tours of Canada in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

A Resilient Crown: Canada’s Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee, edited by D. Michael Jackson and Christopher McCreery (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2022) is now available for purchase. This book of essays about the Crown in Canada over the past seventy years includes a chapter that I wrote about Royal Tours of Canada in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Click here to purchase A Resilient Crown: Canada’s Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee

New Book Chapter: Royal Tours of Canada in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

A Resilient Crown: Canada's Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee by [D. Michael Jackson, Christopher McCreery]
I have contributed a chapter about Royal Tours of Canada in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II to the forthcoming book, A Resilient Crown: Canada’s Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee, edited by D. Michael Jackson and Christopher McCreery, which will be published by Dundurn Press later this year.

Click here to pre-order A Resilient Crown: Canada’s Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee

Royal Studies Podcast: Royal Jubilees

In the first episode of the 2022 Royal Studies Podcast, I discussed the history of royal jubilees with Dr. Elena Woodacre, editor-in-chief of The Royal Studies Journal, including the Golden Jubilee of King George III in 1809-1810, the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Queen Victoria in 1887 and 1897 and the Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, 2002, 2012 and 2022.

Click here to listen to the Royal Jubilees episode of The Royal Studies Podcast

Winter 2022 Online Course: Behind the Crown: The Monarchy from Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II

My new eight week online course at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies starts Wednesday January 12, 2022. Click here for more information and to register.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

The year 2022 marks Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. It’s an opportunity to look back on the social, political and cultural changes during her long reign.  The personal lives of royalty are a popular subject for fiction in novels, films and TV series but the real history is more interesting. Each generation of royalty must respond to the challenges of their times to keep the monarchy relevant and engaged with public opinion. Join Carolyn Harris, historian, commentator and author of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting for a lively discussion of the history, politics and cultural significance of the monarchy in the UK and Canada.

Click here for more information and to register.  

New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Royal Tours of Canada

My new article in the Historica Canada Canadian Encyclopedia is about Royal Tours of Canada from the late eighteenth century to the present day, including early visits by King George III’s sons, the travels of Queen Victoria’s children, the 1939 royal tour by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), and official visits and working visits during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Click here to read my article about Royal Tours of Canada in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Today Interview: Queen Elizabeth makes history with 65 years on the throne

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. June 2, 1953

February 6, 2017 is Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee. The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a 65 year reign though there have been longer reigns elsewhere in the world. (King Louis XIV of France reigned for 72 years, the longest reign in European history so far). As I discussed with Eun Kim at Today, the Queen plans to mark this historic date quietly as it is also the anniversary of her father King George VI’s death.

Click here to read Queen Elizabeth II Makes History with 65 Years on the Throne

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia: Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – 2012

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

This year, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British and modern Canadian history, surpassing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1837-1901) My most recent article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the second to be celebrated after that of Queen  Victoria in 1897. I discuss the preparations for the celebrations, the Diamond Jubilee Medals in Canada, the Thames Diamond Jubilee river pageant and Commonwealth tours by members of the royal family including the Canadian tour by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.

Click here to read Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – 2012 in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Friday Royal Read: Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s by Virginia Nicholson

On September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history. Her 63 year reign has encompassed so many distinct phases (See the series of articles that I wrote in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012: The Young Queen of Canada, The Controversial Queen of Canada, The Celebrity Queen of Canada and The Jubilee Queen of Canada) that it’s easy to forget that when she ascended to the throne in 1952, she faced all the expectations that were directed toward British women in the 1950s in addition to nearly a thousand years of royal tradition.

In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950’s, Virginia Nicholson, author of Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in the Second World War and Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived without Men After the First World War, provides a social history of women’s lives in Britain in the 1950s. Popular culture expected them to be Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes but whether the women profiled in Nicholson’s book lived in palaces or council houses, their homes rarely conformed to ideals. Throughout the decade, the two most prominent women in Britain were Queen Elizabeth II, whose marriage and motherhood appeared to conform to 1950s expectations and Princess Margaret who struggled in the face of overwhelming pressure to “settle down” with a suitable husband.

The Queen’s coronation in 1953 was one of the most memorable events of the decade and Nicholson presents  a vivid account of women’s engagement in the ceremony, from the Queen herself at the centre of events, to the women involved in the coverage and planning to spectators of all social backgrounds including peeresses in the galleries of Westminster Abbey, Londoners camped on the sidewalk in the rain and the thousands of women who watched the ceremony on their first television set. Although the monarch was female, the BBC journalists who covered the event were male with the exception of one female commentator and four “back-up girls” in charge of providing human interest stories. There were plenty women involved in the preparations, however, including Constance Spry, who created the floral decorations and Rosemary Hume, who invented “coronation chicken.”

Nicholson also provides a fresh perspective on Princess Margaret’s relationship with Peter Townsend and her ultimate decision not to give up her royal position to marry a divorced man. The Princess’s relationship with Townsend took place less than two decades after King Edward VIII abdicated to marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson but attitudes toward divorce, remarriage and royal duty were already undergoing a gradual change. Nicholson discusses how English women, from Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting Iris Peake to working class women who read about the relationship in the press hoped the Princess would be able to marry the man of her choice. In contrast, the male establishment, some of whom had been involved in divorce cases themselves, were adamant that Townsend was unsuitable. The Queen supported the establishment and Margaret ultimately married the photographer Antony Armstrong Jones in 1960, divorcing in 1978.

There’s far more to Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950’s than royalty. Through the stories of individual women, Nicholson reveals the adversity faced by those women whose aspirations included other goals besides marriage, home and family. As late as 1959, only one in a hundred British women pursued post-secondary education and Oxford and Cambridge had only begun granting degrees to women in 1920 and 1947 respectively. Most British women of the period left school at fifteen and worked in jobs that provided little hope of career advancement until they married. Nicholson analyzes the context for women’s roles in the period including the desire to return to pre-Second World War life and slow adoption of modern conveniences within British households.

Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950’s is a fascinating history of how British women lived at the beginning of Elizabeth II’s record breaking reign. The cultural climate has changed immeasurably over the past sixty-three years but Nicholson presents convincing case that the attitudes toward women from the 1950s still cast a long shadow over modern life.

Next Week: Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran

New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837–1901) was the first monarch to celebrate 60 years on the throne. Celebrations to honour the grand occasion — the first Diamond Jubilee — showcased the Queen’s role as “mother” of the British Empire and its Dominions, including Canada. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier led the Canadian delegation to the London ceremonies, while communities across Canada held their own civic celebrations in honour of the Queen.

Click here to read “Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – 1897” in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Interview: What does ‘Occupation: Princess’ mean? Here’s what the royals actually do

The Duchess of Cambridge celebrates Canada Day in Ottawa, July 1, 2011

The Duchess of Cambridge celebrates Canada Day in Ottawa, July 1, 2011

My latest interview for Yahoo Shine Canada discusses the wide range of official duties performed by royalty today. Since the reign of King George III, philanthropy has been a key role for royalty, especially princesses. Queen Victoria’s five daughters all assumed charitable patronages, many of which were devoted to the health and education of women and girls. Today, representing Queen Elizabeth II at official engagements is also an important role for members of the royal family. The Queen and Prince Philip have reduced their overseas travel in recent years and their children and grandchildren often represent them outside the United Kingdom.

Click here to read “What does ‘Occupation: Princess’ mean? Here’s what the royals actually do” at Yahoo Shine Canada