CBC News Interview: Could the Queen retire?

I discussed a variety of royal events, past and present with Janet Davison for the latest edition of the CBC News Royal Fascinator newsletter including Princess Anne’s presence at the recent NATO leaders reception at Buckingham Palace and Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna’s decision to immigrate to Canada after the Second World War.

Click here to read “Could The Queen Retire” at CBC News

Upcoming Guest Lecture: Royal Weddings from Victoria and Albert to Harry and Meghan – December 16, Toronto Public Library

Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Toronto Public Library S. Walter Stewart Branch 170 Memorial Park Ave.

Royal weddings have been the focus of popular fascination for centuries. Queen Victoria popularized the white wedding dress and her descendants have also exerted a profound influence on how marriages are celebrated around the world. Join Carolyn Harris, author of ‘Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting,‘ for a lively history of royal weddings from Victorian times until today.

Drop in. No registration required.

Click here for more information

Global News Interview: What was it like to have Queen Elizabeth II as a mom?

I discussed royal parenting during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II with Meghan Collie at Global News. The release of Season 3 of The Crown on Netflix has contributed to a revival of interest in the relationship between the Queen and her four children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. The series speculates about the conversations and confrontations that took place within the royal family behind palace doors.

Click here to read “What was it like to have Queen Elizabeth II as a Mom” at Global News

For more about the history of royal parenting from medieval to modern times, read about the experiences of 20 sets of royal parents in my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe for sale for $9.99 in the Palgrave Macmillan Cyber Sale

My 2nd book, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette is currently on sale for $9.99 as part of the Palgrave Macmillan cyber sale. Click here to buy Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe for $9.99 direct from Palgrave Macmillan until December 3, 2019.

NBC News Interview: ‘The Crown’ season three: Did Princess Margaret really party with LBJ?

Season 3 of The Crown series premieres on Netflix today and there is already interest in how much dramatic license has been taken by the writers of the series. I discussed the portrayal of Princess Margaret’s 1965 official visit to the United States with Daniel Arkin at NBC News. President Lyndon Baines Johnson was the only American president elected during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign who did not meet the Queen but he hosted an official dinner at the White House for Princess Margaret.

Click here to read ‘The Crown’ season three: Did Princess Margaret really party with LBJ?” at NBC News

For more about Princess Margaret, I recommend reading 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown and Princess Margaret: A Life in Contrasts by Christopher Warwick.

For more about President Lyndon Johnson, I recommend reading Robert Caro’s ongoing series “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” – The Path to Power, The Means of Ascent, Master of the Senate and The Passage of Power have been published so far.

Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World – My Winter 2020 Course at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

In January-February, 2020, I will be teaching a course on Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, just in time for the 805th anniversary of Magna Carta in June 2020. The course will take place on Wednesday afternoons from 2-4pm Click here for more information and to register:


Magna Carta is 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 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 in 2015 was celebrated around the world, and a surviving copy of the Magna Carta was exhibited across Canada. Join Carolyn Harris, author of Magna Carta and its Gifts to Canada, and discover the enduring impact of this document on the modern world.

Click here for more information and to register:

Click here to purchase my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada

CBC News Interview: Could the Royal Family shrink?

I discussed the recent changes to the Royal House of Sweden with Janet Davison at CBC News. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s decision to remove the titles of His or Her Royal Highness from five of his grandchildren are part of a wider trend of streamlining royal houses to include fewer people who receive public funds and perform official duties.

This trend is evident in the British and Commonwealth royal family as well. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, did not receive a title at the time of his birth, suggesting that he will eventually pursue his own career rather than undertake full time royal duties.

Click here to read “Could the Royal Family Shrink?” in the Royal Fascinator newsletter at CBC News.

New BBC History Magazine Article: Was Queen Mary, wife of George V, a kleptomaniac?

My latest article in the BBC History Magazine examines the reputation of Queen Mary, the wife of King George V, and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. In the new Downton Abbey film, one storyline references a long-standing question: was Mary partial to stealing from the grand houses that she visited? Writing for History Extra, I explore the life of George V’s queen, and her habits as a collector of precious objects.

Click here to read “Was Queen Mary, wife of George V, a kleptomaniac?” in the BBC History Magazine.

CBC News Interview: A ‘complicated transition’: How Kate is stepping up her public role for the royals

I discussed the role of the Duchess of Cambridge with Janet Davison at CBC News. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“For Kate, it’s been a “complicated transition,” said Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian.

Kate came to public prominence once it was known she was dating William. She took part in a television interview at the time of their engagement, but didn’t make a public speech until 2012. In many ways, it seemed she was being eased into royal duties more slowly than previous generations.

For William’s mother, Diana, three decades earlier, “it was a very fast transition into royal life,” said Harris.”

Click here to read A ‘complicated transition’: How Kate is stepping up her public role for the royals at CBC News

Talking History Interview: Queen Victoria: A Life

I discussed the life, reign and legacy of Queen Victoria with Patrick Geoghegan on Talking History, Newstalk FM, Ireland.

The panel of historians and biographers on the program include A.N. Wilson, author of Victoria: A Life, Jane Ridley, author of Bertie: A Life of Edward VII and Queen Victoria: Queen, Matriarch, Empress, Jules Stewart, author of Albert: A Life and Christine Kinealy, author of A New History of Ireland.

Click here to listen to Queen Victoria: A Life