CBC News Interview: Now Victoria comes to TV: Why Queens are ‘dramatic dynamite’

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria

The ITV series Victoria premieres on PBS on January 15 at 9pm ET. My interview with CBC.ca discusses Queen Victoria, the Netflix series The Crown and why the Stuart queens Mary II and Anne would be ideal candidates for a dramatic treatment of this kind.

Click here to read “Now Victoria comes to TV: Why Queens are ‘dramatic dynamite'”

For more information about Queen Victoria, click here to read my article about Queen Victoria and Canada in the Queen’s Alumni Review and my profile of Queen Victoria in the Canadian Encyclopedia 

My forthcoming book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting includes a chapter about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and how they parented their nine children.

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Canadian Press Interview: B.C. spent more than $600K on royal tour; overall cost likely more than $3M

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive in Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive in Canada

A partial breakdown of the cost of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2016 Canadian tour was released today. I discussed the expenses of the royal tour with the Canadian Press, noting the differences between William and Kate’s 2011 and 2016 tours of Canada and the positive impact of their presence for Canadian charities, institutions and environmental initiatives.

Click here to read “B.C. spent more than $600K on royal tour; overall cost likely more than $3M” from the Canadian Press


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Globe and Mail and Mashable Interviews about “The Crown” TV series on Netflix

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh kneeling before his wife, the Queen at her coronation in 1953 as portrayed by Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown on Netflix.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh kneeling before his wife, the Queen at her coronation in 1953 as portrayed by Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown on Netflix.

In the past few weeks, I have had a couple more interviews published about the portrayal of the young Queen Elizabeth II in season 1 of “The Crown” on Netflix.

I discussed the Queen’s image with Elizabeth Renzetti at the Globe and Mail. In addition to “The Crown,” Queen Elizabeth II has been the subject of numerous works of fiction from novels such as Mrs Queen Takes the Train and The Uncommon Reader to films such as The Queen and Royal Night Out  and plays such as The Audience.

One of the reasons why Elizabeth II appeals to novelists, screenwriters and playwrights is that her appearance and demeanor is known to the world but as an impartial constitutional monarch, she is expected to remain above politics. Fictional portrayals of the Queen are opportunities to speculate about what she is really thinking when performs public engagements or meets with her Prime Ministers.

One of the key themes in “The Crown” is conflict between the young Queen Elizabeth II’s position as sovereign and the prevailing gender roles in Britain in the 1950s. I discussed how “‘The Crown’ is a low-key guide to outfoxing the men in your way” with Rachel Thompson of Masahable.com. Although women over 30 had been able to vote in Britain since 1918 and all adult women received the franchise in 1928, there were few female members of parliament in the 1950s and a female Prime Minister would not be elected anywhere in the world until Sirimavo Bandaranaike became Head of Government in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1960.

In “The Crown,” the Queen has to negotiate a role for her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and insist that her first Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, treat her according to her position as sovereign rather than her age and gender. She also reflects on her education, which included a thorough grounding in the constitution from the Provost of Eton College but paid little attention to subjects considered unimportant for women of her social background at the time such as mathematics or science.

Season 2 of the Crown is expected to be released in November 2017.

Click here to read “Despite attempts to decipher her, Queen Elizabeth II remains a mystery”  in the Globe and Mail.

Click here to read “‘The Crown’ is a low-key guide to outfoxing the men in your way” at Mashable.com


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Queen’s Alumni Review Article: Queen Victoria and Canada

Queen Victoria, the Mother of Confederation

Queen Victoria, the Mother of Confederation

My latest article in the Queen’s Alumni Review Magazine discusses the impact of Queen Victoria on Canadian history from the earliest years of her reign.

“When Queen Victoria granted a royal charter to establish Queen’s College in Kingston in 1841, she was 22 and had reigned for four years. Over the course of her nearly 64-year reign (1837–1901), Victoria shaped key events in Canadian history, including the aftermath of the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada, the relationship between the Crown and the First Nations, and Confederation. The Queen also shaped Canadian culture and institutions, and her birthday remains a national holiday in Canada.”

Click here to read “Queen Victoria and Canada” in the Queen’s Alumni Review

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Advance Praise for Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

Advance Praise for my 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, which will be published by Dundurn Press in April 2017:

“Today‘s parents think they have it tough, monitoring screen time and shuttling kids to soccer matches. Imagine being King William I, the Conqueror, who in 1079 had to fight his firstborn son on the battlefield; or Henry II, whose villainous son, John, is today best known as Robin Hood‘s arch enemy. Carolyn Harris‘s history of royal child rearing is a must read for anyone interested in the never-ending saga of royal families and a fascinating read.” (Mark Reid, Editor-in-Chief, Canada’s History Magazine)

“Carolyn Harris has taken an innovative approach with this engaging new work, bringing together a millennia of royal parenting from Edgar “the Peaceable” and Elfrida of Northampton right up to the present day with the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Harris has deftly woven together the history of various rulers, evaluating their relationships with their children and bringing in wider trends in parenting in different eras. She notes both rivalry and tension between parents and children, as aptly illustrated by the Hanoverian monarchs of England, as well as evidence of affection and strong bonds between rulers and their offspring. Any reader with an interest in the history of monarchy or parenting itself will find this an absorbing read, both accessible and replete with interesting information. A real strength of this book is that it puts our present-day fascination with current and recent monarchs and their children in a long-term historical context.” (Dr. Elena (Ellie) Woodacre, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern European History Postgraduate Student Coordinator-Faculty of HSS University of Winchester, editor of The Royal Studies Journal)

“How to raise the kids? It is a question that has confounded parents for centuries. Imagine how parenting has been for royalty throughout the ages? Royal historian Carolyn Harris’s newest book focuses on this very topic. In Raising Royalty, Harris’s detailed research [explores] how royal parenting has evolved throughout the last thousand years. Harris focuses on twenty royal parents – from Edgar the Peaceable and Elfrieda of Northampton to Prince William and Catherine Middleton. This book is delightfully readable, infused with the brilliance of pure scholarship.” (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig, author of Queen Victoria’s Descendants)

“Carolyn Harris’s encyclopedic knowledge infuses Raising Royalty with fascinating insights into the lives of Europe’s Royal Families. Moving through the centuries, Harris highlights unique and evolving family dynamics and traditions right up to our present day. An essential addition to any royal enthusiast’s collection, Raising Royalty provides a captivating look at the families occupying the centre of some of the world’s greatest monarchies.” (Nathan Tidridge, author of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy)

Click here to pre-order your copy of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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“Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution” begins January 11, 2017

marie_antoinette My eight week afternoon course about Queen Marie Antoinette of France and the French Revolution begins January 11, 2017 at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies. All are welcome.

Click here for more information and to register.

More than 200 years after her execution, Queen Marie Antoinette is still one of the most famous and controversial figures in European history. In late 18th-century France, her reputation influenced debates about the role of women in politics, their families and the arts. Austrian-born, her position at the top of French society informed criticism of the monarchy and contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. Her influence on popular culture continues today.

Click here for more information and to register.

Click here to purchase my book, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette

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Mashable Interview: How accurate is Netflix’s ‘The Crown’?

Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the Queen and Prince Philip in the  Netflix series, The Crown

Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the Queen and Prince Philip in the Netflix series, The Crown

I have been enjoying watching The Crown series on Netflix, which dramatizes the early years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. I have been posting comments about the major themes and historical events in each episode on twitter @royalhistorian .

I also discussed the first four episodes of The Crown with Rachel Thompson for her article on Mashable.com, How accurate is Netflix’s ‘The Crown’? My interview covered portrayals of King George VI’s temperment, Prince Philip’s adjustment to life as the Queen’s consort and the Duke of Windsor’s place in the royal family.

Click here to read the interview with Rachel Thompson at Mashable.com

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New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Princess Louise

Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter.

Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter.

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is a profile of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, a daughter of Queen Victoria who became Canada’s vice regal consort from 1878 until 1883.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Marchioness of Lorne was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and vice-regal consort of Canada from 1878 to 1883 (born 18 March 1848 in London, United Kingdom; died 3 December 1939 in London, United Kingdom). Louise was the first member of the royal family to visit British Columbia. As vice-regal consort, she promoted the arts in Canada, including the founding of the National Gallery of Canada and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Lake Louise and the province of Alberta were named in her honour.

Click here to read my article about Princess Louise in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

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

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Upcoming Guest Lectures in 2016

Here is my schedule of guest lectures for October, November and December 2016. Click on the links for more information including times and ticket prices:

October 26, 2016, The Royal Commonwealth Society of Toronto Speaker Series: The Queen and Commonwealth, Arts and Letters Club, Toronto

November 2, 2016, Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World, Aurora Cultural Centre, Aurora.

November 7, 2016, The Stateswoman: Perceptions of Female Leaders in 20th and 21st Centuries, Temple Emanu-el Lecture Series, Toronto

November 20, 2016, Victorian Christmas Traditions, Toronto’s 1st Post Office, Toronto 

December 1-19, 2016: 6 Lectures about Royalty and the Atlantic World Aboard the Azamara Quest during the Costa Rica, Panama Canal and ABCs cruise

 Click here to view a selection of lectures about my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights.


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PhD Talk Interview: “This Is How I Work”

deskI have been interviewed by Eva Lantsoght at the PhD talk blog for the series “This Is How I Work.” I discuss my work habits including the technology (and the books) in my home office, balancing different projects and my experiences since completing my history PhD in 2012.

Click here to read “I am Carolyn Harris and this is how I work” on the PhD Talk blog

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