19th century representation of King John accepting Magna Carta in 1215
My interview with CBC News discusses Magna Carta and the Magna Carta Canada touring exhibition, which begins at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa this week. I talked about a variety of topics related to King John and Magna Carta including why there has only been one English king named John and why there is no mention of Magna Carta in William Shakespeare’s play about King John.
Click here to read Magna Carta: From King John’s lechery and treachery to our liberty at CBC.ca
Click here to purchase my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights
Queen Victoria, the Mother of Confederation
My most recent article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Queen Victoria and her role in Canadian history as a “Mother of Confederation.” Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne at age 18, following the death of her uncle, William IV, in 1837. She became an ardent imperialist and took an intense interest in her colonial subjects and her role as head of a vast British empire where “the sun never set.” Queen Victoria favoured Confederation and acted as a unifying influence for Canada’s provinces. While the Queen never visited Canada, five of her nine children spent time in Canada, where her name has been given to numerous public buildings, streets, communities and physical features. Queen Victoria also exerted a profound cultural influence, popularizing white wedding dresses, family Christmases and the use of anesthesia during childbirth.
Click here to read “Queen Victoria” in the Canadian Encyclopedia
The Duchess of Cambridge celebrates Canada Day in Ottawa, July 1, 2011
My latest Canadian Encyclopedia article is a profile of The Duchess of Cambridge née Catherine “Kate” Middleton. I discuss how Kate has become famous worldwide for her philanthropy and fashion since her marriage to Prince William, and is closely associated with the modernization of the monarchy. In 2011, she toured Canada with William.
The Middleton family has a connection to Canada. Kate’s paternal grandfather, Peter Middleton, served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, including two years of training at No. 37 Service Flying Training School in Calgary, Alberta (now part of the Calgary International Airport).
Click here to read my article on The Duchess of Cambridge in the Canadian Encyclopedia
The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)
I talked to Hello! Canada about the lives of Princesses past and present for the magazine’s special edition on the birth of Princess Charlotte.
Click here to read The Life of a Princess in Hello! Canada
In honour of Victoria Day, CBC World at Six will be presenting a special about what the monarchy means to Canadians today. I will be discussing how royal tours and events have been brought to the attention of a new generation through social media as well as the delicate balance between maintaining the “royal mystique” and responding to the public’s interest in life behind palace doors. I will also talk about how William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are transforming the way the royal family is perceived by the public.
Following broadcast at 6pm on May 18, the monarchy episode of CBC World at 6 will be available for download as a podcast from CBC radio.
Victoria Day celebrations outside Government House in Toronto in 1854
This Monday, Canadians celebrate Victoria Day, which is both Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday in Canada and a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria as a “Mother of Confederation.” My article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses the history and significance of Victoria Day, which has been celebrated in Canada since 1845.
Click here to read my article on Victoria Day in the Canadian Encyclopedia
John William Ritchie
John William Ritchie of Nova Scotia is one of the least known Fathers of Canadian Confederation. Ritchie was a law clerk for the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia. While he did not attend the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864, he replaced Robert Barry Dickey as a delegate to the London Conference in 1866, which earned him recognition as a Father of Confederation. Ritchie’s support for Confederation was rewarded with a Senate seat, which he held until 1870, when he became a justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Ritchie’s daughter, Eliza, became the first Canadian woman to earn a PhD and teach in a university.
Click here for my article on John William Ritchie in the Canadian Encyclopedia.
The Lady Slipper, which became the official flower of the province of Prince Edward Island in 1947
My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses Anne Elizabeth (Grubbe) Haviland (1818-1902) who assembled Prince Edward Island’s earliest known collection of botanical specimens. Her collection is now part of the herbarium at Kew Botanical Gardens, London. Haviland was also one of the most prominent women in nineteenth century Prince Edward Island society. Her husband Thomas Heath Haviland (the subject of one of my previous Canadian Encyclopedia articles) was one of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation and he became the province’s Lieutenant Governor in 1879.
Click here to read my article on Anne Elizabeth Haviland in the Canadian Encyclopedia