Peter the Great and the Building of Saint Petersburg begins at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies on March 14, 2017

Peter the Great in 1698

In March, April and May 2017, I will be teaching one of my most popular courses at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies: Peter the Great and the Building of Saint Petersburg. Click here to register

When Peter became czar in 1682, Europe had become quite foreign to Russia. Fascinated by the West, Peter was determined to transform Russia into a great European power. In this course, we’ll discover the traditional Russia of Peter’s childhood, his Grand Tour of Europe and his subsequent dream of building St. Petersburg, a new city to match his vision of the country.

With images of the city and accounts of his drive to create it, we’ll see how the city emerged as a symbol of his power and of Russia’s hopes. We will look at the lasting impact of his reign, and find out how and why Russian president Vladimir Putin takes Peter as a role model. Join us for a discussion of the architectural and political legacy of one of the world’s most influential figures.

19th century portrait of Peter the Great interrogating his son, Alexei

What You’ll Learn:

  • Explore the rise of Russia as a world power in the 18th century.
  • Understand the impact of Peter the Great on Russia’s past and present.
  • Follow the founding of St. Petersburg as capital of Imperial Russia.
  • Examine the role of St. Petersburg in Russia’s relationship with the West.
  • Appreciate its influence on Russian culture and society.

Click here to register for Peter the Great and the Building of Saint Petersburg at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Table of Contents for Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

The Table of Contents of my forthcoming book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting is now available online:

Table of Contents

Introduction  Raising a Royal Child

1     Edgar “the Peaceable” (c. 943-75) and Elfrida of Northampton (c. 945-1001)
2     William “the Conqueror” (c. 1028-87) and Matilda of Flanders (c. 1031-83)

Genealogical chart depicting King Henry II of England and his children

3     Henry II (1133-89) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (c. 1124-1204)
4     Henry III (1207-72) and Eleanor of Provence (c. 1223-91)
5     Edward III (1312-77) and Philippa of Hainault (1314-69)
6     Richard III (1452-85) and Anne Neville (1456-85)

Charles I, Henrietta Maria and their two eldest children

7     Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516) and Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504)
8     Henry VIII (1491-1547) and Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536)
9     Frederick V, Elector Palatine (1596-1632) and Elizabeth of England and Scotland (1596-1662)
10    Charles I (1600-49) and Henrietta Maria of France (1609-69)
11    Peter I “the Great” of Russia (1672-1725) and Catherine I (1684-1727)
12    Anne (1665-1714) and George of Denmark (1653-1708)
13    George II (1683-1760) and Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737)

Nicholas and Alexandra present their daughter, Olga to Queen Victoria

14    Louis XVI of France (1754-93) and Marie Antoinette of Austria (1755-93)
15    Victoria (1819-1901) and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-61)
16    Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918) and Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt (1872-1918)
17    Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004) and Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1911-2004)
18    Elizabeth II (1926-) and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (1921-)
19    Prince Charles (1948-) and Lady Diana Spencer (1961-97)  20    Prince William (1982-) and Catherine Middleton (1982-)

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

Epilogue    The Future of the Royal Nursery

Acknowledgements
Notes
Further Reading
Index

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Smithsonian Russian Revolution Series: On The Eve of the Revolution, A Palace Coup Seemed Inevitable

Czar Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra and their five children in 1915

The 3rd article in my Russian Revolution series in Smithsonian Magazine discusses events in Russia in January 1917, 100 years ago, when revolution was imminent. The murder of Rasputin in December 1916 divided Czar Nicholas II’s extended family and there was widespread speculation of a “Rising of the Grand Dukes” that would lead to a palace coup. The concerns of the elite, however, were dwarfed by the discontent among Russia’s working class, who were facing food shortages in the cities. Despite the tensions in all social classes, Vladimir Lenin, who would eventually rise to power during the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, speculated that older people might not live to see the revolution.

Click here to read “On the Eve of the Russian Revolution, a Palace Coup Seemed Inevitable, But Where Would it Come From?”

Click here for links to the previous articles in my Russian Revolution series in Smithsonian Magazine

Sources and Further Reading:

 From Supplication to Revolution: A Documentary Social History of Imperial Russia is a volume of primary sources revealing changing conditions among all social estates in Russia, from the reign of Catherine the Great to the reign of Nicholas II.

Excerpts from the diaries and letters of Czar Nicholas II, his extended family and members of the diplomatic corps during the First World War are included in A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story

The letter between Czar Nicholas II’s brother-in-law, Grand Duke Alexander and his own brother, the historian Grand Duke Nicholas is quoted in The Flight Of The Romanovs: A Family Saga. Grand Duke Alexander survived the revolution and wrote two volumes of memoirs, Once a Grand Duke and Always a Grand Duke

The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II by Greg King provides detailed mini-biographies of Czar Nicholas II’s family and household.

The conversation quoted in the article between Czar Nicholas II’s aunt, Maria Pavlovna and Duma Chairman Mikhail Rodzianko is discussed in From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847–1928. Rodzianko also wrote his memoirs: The Reign of Rasputin: An Empire’s Collapse.

Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky’s biography of Czar Alexander II focuses on his reforms and eventual assassination.

The 1917 demonstrations on the 12th anniversary of Bloody Sunday of 1905 are discussed in A Brief History of 1917: Russia’s Year of Revolution, which examines the Russian Revolution from the perspective of ordinary people.

Helen Rappaport’s biography of Lenin, Conspirator: Lenin in Exile examines his years as an exiled revolutionary before returning to Russia and assuming power in 1917. Lenin detailed his philosophy in Essential Works of Lenin: “What Is to Be Done?” and Other Writings

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Quartz Article: The hit Netflix series “The Crown” [and Victoria on PBS] expose all our 21st-century anxieties about powerful women

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

My article in Quartz  discusses how women in power are portrayed on two hit TV shows: The Crown on Netflix and Victoria on PBS. Both Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown and Queen Victoria in Victoria appear as young women who are mentored or challenged by the men who surround them and experience frequent moments of self doubt. In fact, both queens had been trained for their future roles since childhood and were confident queens who were both extremely popular when they first succeeded to the throne. The portrayals of Elizabeth II and Victoria on TV today reflect current anxieties about women in power.

Click here to read “The hit Netflix series “The Crown” exposes all our 21st-century anxieties about powerful women” at Quartz

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Advance Reader Reviews of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

Readers who received advance review copies of my forthcoming book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting are sharing their reviews on goodreads. Raising Royalty will be published by Dundurn Press in Canada in April 2017 and in the USA and UK in May 2017.

Here are excerpts from some of the reader reviews:

“Raising Royalty is a comprehensive study of how…Kings and Queens have raised their children. Twenty families with their widely varying parenting approaches from Anglo-Saxon times to the present are studied.
While the book is a thoroughly researched subject by a scholar, it is a joy to read. It provides a clear picture of how parenting in the rarefied atmosphere of castles and palaces has evolved and, perhaps more importantly, why. Boys were brought up to fight and rule, and girls for dynastic/political marriages. Princes and princesses had no choice one thousand years ago and, one also sympathizes, today their futures are still fixed in stone but with a little more leeway.
Carolyn Harris, the author, has done an excellent job of writing this book for general readership and it will open eyes with the detail and surprises. Recommended for history buffs and royal watchers.” — Julie Ferguson

“I was expecting the book to be entirely be about English royalty, but was pleased to find that it covered enough of Europe to give it some diversity.
Filled with a lot of interesting facts and written in a way that held my attention.
Both well researched and written.” — MissyLynne

“I was expecting a list of “advice” and “lessons” and was pleasantly surprised.
Ms. Harris presents a HUGE amount of history in this book and her skill at writing in a way that keeps the reader engaged and interested is refreshing.
Anyone with any interest in royal families will love this book. It’s a great read. ” — Michelle Griswold

Click here to view all reader reviews for Raising Royalty on goodreads

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

New York Post Interview: Thank queen of ‘Victoria’ for this Oval Office centerpiece

Portrait of the nineteen year old Queen Victoria on her coronation day in 1838.

Portrait of the nineteen year old Queen Victoria on her coronation day in 1838.

My thoughts about Queen Victoria and her opposition to women’s suffrage have been quoted in the New York Post as part of a list of facts about the famous Queen, who is currently being portrayed by Jenna Coleman in the Victoria TV series on PBS. The quotes are an excerpt from a longer interview with the University of Alberta Faculty of Law blog about Queen Victoria, her family and women’s rights.

Click here to read Thank queen of ‘Victoria’ for this Oval Office centerpiece in the New York Post.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

dscn08641I am honoured to be a recipient of a 2016 Excellence in Teaching award from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. The award recognizes sustained dedication to the delivery of adult education.

My course about Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution begins at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies on January 11. Click here for more information and to register. 

In the Spring of 2017, I will be teaching one of my most popular courses: Peter the Great and the Building of Saint Petersburg. Click here for more information and to register. 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather