Magna Carta book signings and talks in Winnipeg August 14-16 2015

The Magna Carta Canada exhibition opens at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on August 15.  I will be in Winnipeg from August 13 to 16 signing books and giving talks about impact of Magna Carta on history, politics and law. If you’re in Winnipeg, come to the McNally Robinson bookstore or the Canadian Museum of Human Rights for a book talk and signing!

Here’s my schedule:

Friday August 14 2015 7:00 pm: Speaking and Signing at McNally Robinson bookstore 

Saturday August 15 2015 2:00pm: “Magna Carta and the Modern World” lecture at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Sunday August 16 2015 2:00pm “Women and Magna Carta” lecture at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

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

CBC News Interview: Royal archives: What Canadian secrets might they reveal?

Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter.

Princess Louise in Canada

My most recent interview with Janet Davison at CBC news discusses the Royal Archives and Canadian history. The archives contain documents concerning Queen Victoria’s 4th daughter, Princess Louise that are currently inaccessible to researchers. These restrictions have fueled speculation that the Princess had a secret son before she married Lord Lorne, who was Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.

I do not believe the rumors about Princess Louise’s personal life because she was present at Queen Victoria’s court and made public appearances during the period when the supposed pregnancy and birth took place. Nevertheless, this speculation has informed a recent popular biography of the Princess and contributed to interest in making the contents of the Royal Archives more accessible to researchers.

Click here to read “Royal archives: What Canadian secrets might they reveal?” at CBC.ca

For more on Princess Louise and her impact on the Canadian monarchy, see my book chapter, “Royalty at Rideau Hall: Lord Lorne, Princess Louise and the Emergence of the Canadian Crown” in Canada and the Crown: Essays on Constitutional Monarchy

Magna Carta And Its Gifts to Canada on Globe and Mail Bestseller List

My book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, is #7 on The Globe and Mail Canadian non-fiction bestseller list for August 1, 2015.

Click here to see The Canadian Non-Fiction Globe and Mail Bestseller List

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

Canadian Geographic Magazine Interview: The Charter of the Forest

Medieval_forestMagna Carta is not the only historic Charter touring Canada this year. Magna Carta’s lesser known companion document, the Charter of the Forest, is also on tour as part of the Magna Carta Canada exhibition. In my Interview about the Charter of the Forest in Canadian Geographic Magazine I discuss why the Charter of the Forest, first issued in 1217, affected more people than Magna Carta in the thirteenth century, what “evil customs relating to the forests” the Charter promised to reform and why there are environmentalists today who wish the Charter of the Forest was as famous as as Magna Carta.

Click here to read my Interview about the Charter of the Forest with the Canadian Geographic.

For more about the Charter of the Forest, see my article on the Charter of the Forest on the Magna Carta Canada site and my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

CBC News Interview: Princess Charlotte’s christening: A balance between private celebration and public show

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge’s christening will take place on Sunday July 5 at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate. The last Princess born into the royal family, Princess Eugenie, was christened there in 1990 as part of the regular Sunday service open to the public but Charlotte’s christening will be a balance between public and private. The ceremony will be attended by close family and godparents but the public will be able to gather outside the church to see the royal family as they do at Christmas.

Click here to read my interview with CBC News: Princess Charlotte’s christening: A balance between private celebration and public show

Interview: The Great Kate Debate: Is it Kate Middleton or HRH The Duchess of Cambridge?

Prince Harry and Kate Middleton (later the Duchess of Cambridge) attending Prince William's 2008 Investiture into the Order of the Garter

Prince Harry and Kate Middleton, future Duchess of Cambridge  in 2008 

My interview with Yahoo Shine Canada discusses why the Duchess of Cambridge is still known to much of the public as Kate Middleton more than four years after her marriage to Prince William. I also discuss the history of royal nicknames from what Queen Victoria called the multiple granddaughters who shared her name to Canada’s Princess Pat, as another one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, Princess Patricia of Connaught, became known.

Click here to read “The Great Kate Debate: Is it Kate Middleton or HRH The Duchess of Cambridge?” at Yahoo Shine Canada

My 2015-2016 courses at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

My photo in the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies 2015-2016 course calendar

My photo in the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies 2015-2016 course calendar

Registration is now open for the three eight week courses that I will be teaching during the 2015-2016 academic year at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. There are no prerequisites for arts courses at the School and everyone is welcome to enroll. Here are the course descriptions:

Fall 2015: Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World 

The year 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the landmark charter that placed limits on the power of the English king. Neither the king nor his rebel baron opponents necessarily expected its terms to be respected for long. But some of the Magna Carta’s principles – like the right to trial by peers and due process – have become basic to common law. The charter influenced the creation of Parliament and the concept of equality before the law. Later interpretations informed the American and French Revolutions, Canada’s Confederation and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 800th anniversary is being celebrated around the world (a surviving copy of the Magna Carta will be exhibited across Canada). Join Carolyn Harris, author of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, and discover the enduring impact of this document on the modern world. Click here to register!

Winter 2016: Artists and Their Royal Patrons

For centuries, artists sought out royal patrons to advance their careers. European monarchs were eager to fill their courts with artists to demonstrate their own acumen and prestige. Through lectures, images and discussions, Carolyn Harris will lead you through a lively exploration of the relations between great artists and their royal patrons. These include Hans Holbein and Henry VIII, Leonardo da Vinci and François I, Anthony van Dyck and Charles I, Peter Paul Rubens and Marie de Medici, and Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun and Marie Antoinette. We will look at Catherine the Great, who helped found the Hermitage Museum, and Queen Elizabeth II, who is appreciated as a “curator monarch” for her part in opening the British Royal Collection to the public. You’ll learn more about the collaboration and tension between royalty and artists that produced some of Europe’s most famous works of art and established collections now featured in great museums around the world. Click here to Register!

Spring 2016: Imperial Spain

Ferdinand and Isabella transformed a united Spain into a world power, sponsoring Columbus’ voyages to the Americas and forming alliances with other European kingdoms. This new Imperial Spain had a dark side: the rise of the Inquisition, the expulsion of Spain’s Jewish population and the exploitation of the native peoples in the colonies. Gold and silver from the Americas made Spain’s rulers the richest in Europe until its Golden Age came to an end with the wars of the 18th century. Join Carolyn Harris and learn about the rise and fall of Imperial Spain and its lessons for politics and international relations today. Click here to Register!

Column in the National Post: Magna Carta established that nobody, not even the king, was above the law of the land


My column in today’s National Post discusses the history of Magna Carta and its continuing influence on politics and law today, including in Canada. King John was the first English monarch to accept limits on his powers imposed by his subjects, beginning the process that the led to the development of constitutional monarchy, Canada’s system of government. The legal rights codified in Magna Carta expanded in the scope during the 13th and 14th centuries. Magna Carta emerged from medieval times as a document that applied to people of varied backgrounds, not just the nobility, informing the Common Law system that would be employed throughout the English speaking world.

Click here to read “Magna Carta established that nobody, not even the king, was above the law of the land” in the National Post

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

Toronto Star Interview: King John known for murder and Magna Carta

My interview with the Toronto Star “King John known for murder and Magna Carta” discussed the notorious King and how his reputation has gone from bad to worse during the centuries following his death. I compare and contrast King John to Richard III, another controversial English king. While there is a debate about whether Richard III was unfairly maligned by Tudor historians, John is consistently presented as a villain in both the history books and popular culture.

Click here to read “King John known for murder and Magna Carta” in the Toronto Star

I also discuss the reputation of Richard I “the Lionheart” in another Toronto Star article, “Ten things you didn’t know about King John and Magna Carta

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

Radio&TV Interviews for Monday June 15, the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

Monday June 15 is the 800th anniversary of King John reluctantly affixing his seal to Magna Carta. I will be discussing my book,  Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, the history of Magna Carta and its impact on the modern world including Canada on radio and TV. Here’s the schedule for Monday:

CBC Syndicated Radio between 6-9am ET

6:00 Windsor
6:40 Ontario
7:00 Kitchener
7:20 Winnipeg
7:40 Edmonton
7:50 Whitehorse
8:10 Victoria
8:20 Saskatoon
8:40 Vancouver

CTV News Channel 11am ET

Newstalk 610CKTB, St. Catherines, 4:15pm ET

All these times are subject to change.