Ms. Suffragette Interview: Queen Victoria’s Opposition to Women’s Suffrage

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

I discussed the campaign for women’s suffrage in 19th and early 20th century Britain and Canada with Ms. Suffragette, five University of Alberta Law Students who are blogging about the women’s suffrage movement.

In the interview, I discuss the differences between “suffragists” and “suffragettes” and how they were perceived differently over the course of the campaign for women to receive the vote.

I also discuss Queen Victoria’s opposition to women’s suffrage. Although Queen Victoria was the Head of State, she held traditional views about separate spheres for men and women and opposed women voting and running for public office. In contrast, her daughters were more sympathetic to women of all social backgrounds assuming a greater role in public life and supported philanthropic endeavors that improved women’s lives. Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter Princess Louise quietly received suffragists and was connected to prominent figures in the women’s suffrage movement.

Click here to read: “What exactly are “suffragettes”, and Why Did Queen Victoria Hate Them?” on the Ms. Suffragette blog

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BBC News Interview: When the Duke of Windsor met Adolf Hitler

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor meeting with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in 1937

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor meeting with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in 1937

A collection of 60 photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – the former King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson – touring Nazi Germany in 1937 has been auctioned for £6,830 this week. I was interviewed by BBC News about the controversial royal visit and am quoted in the article “When the Duke of Windsor met Adolf Hitler.

Following his abdication in 1936, the Duke of Windsor was eager to carve out a new role for himself and ensure that his wife was treated as a full member of the royal family even though she had not received the title of “Her Royal Highness.” There was no precedent for an abdicated sovereign assuming an active public role on behalf of the current sovereign and the Duke was frustrated that he appeared to be expected to live a quiet life in exile.

The Duke of Windsor was familiar with Germany and had numerous relatives there. He seems to have envisioned a diplomatic role for himself as a mediator between Britain and Germany. Right up until the outbreak of the Second World War, there were senior figures in the British government who thought a lasting peace could be negotiated through diplomacy and the the Duke seems to have shared their views. When war was imminent in 1939, the Duke contacted Hitler hoping to negotiate a peaceful solution, attempting to draw upon the rapport they developed during the 1937 visit.

The Duke of Windsor’s ties with Nazi Germany made him a liability for Britain during the Second World War and he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas, which removed him from Europe for the remainder of the war. In the Bahamas, the Duke and Duchess  continued to cause anxiety for the British government as their visits to the United States attracted an enormous amount of public attention and the Duke expressed pessimism about a British victory. He would not receive further official positions following the end of his term as Governor of the Bahamas.

Click here to my interview with BBC news in the article “When the Duke of Windsor met Adolf Hitler”

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Government House in 1941

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Government House in 1941

For more about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the Bahamas, see my blog posts:

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s Arrival in the Bahamas in 1940

Miami and a Murder Mystery: The Duke of Windsor as Governor of the Bahamas 1940-1945

For further reading about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, see my book reviews:

That Woman by Anne Sebba: Book Review of the latest biography of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

Friday Royal Read: Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain’s Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury

The Woman Before Wallis: Prince Edward, The Parisian Courtesan and The Perfect Murder by Andrew Rose (Review)

 

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My 3rd Book: Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting is now available for pre-order

I am excited to announce that my 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting will be published by Dundurn Press on April 8, 2017.

The book examines How twenty-five sets of royal parents raised their children over the past thousand years, from keeping the Vikings at bay to fending off paparazzi.

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are setting trends for millions of parents around the world. The upbringing of their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, is the focus of intense popular scrutiny. Royalty have always raised their children in the public eye and attracted praise or criticism according to parenting standards of their day.

Royal parents have always faced unique privileges and challenges. In medieval times, raising an heir often meant raising a rival, and monarchs sometimes faced their grown children on the battlefield. Kings and queens who lost their thrones through wars or popular revolutions found solace in time spent with their children. In modern times, royal duties and overseas tours have often separated young princes and princesses from their parents, a circumstance that is slowly changing with the current generation of royalty.

The book is currently available for pre-order from Indigo, Amazon and other booksellers.

Click here to pre-order Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting from Amazon.ca

My other books also available from Amazon:

Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette

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Friday Royal Read: Agincourt by Anne Curry

2015 was not only the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta but the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. Like Magna Carta, the first example of an English monarch accepting limits on his power imposed by his subjects, Agincourt, a key English victory over France took on new significance as the centuries passed. Both Magna Carta and Agincourt became symbols of what it meant to be English, informing a developing national identity. In Agincourt, part of the Great Battles series, historian Anne Curry, author of Henry V: From Playboy Prince to Warrior King and co-author of Bosworth 1485: A Battlefield Rediscovered traces Agincourt’s cultural and political influence from the Hundred Years’ War to the present day.

The Battle of Agincourt took place in 1415, in the midst of a time of transition in English history and literature. King Henry V, the victor of the battle, and his father Henry IV conducted the business of state in English instead of the Norman French used by their predecessors since 1066. There was a growing middle English vernacular literature informed by the work of Geoffrey Chaucer, poet laureate during the reign of Henry V’s great-grandfather, Edward III. The decades long conflict with the French contributed to an emerging sense of English identity.

One of the key themes of Agincourt is separating the facts of the battle from the legends popularized by William Shakespeare’s play Henry V. The stirring St. Crispin’s day speech by Henry V in the play was treated as historical fact from the eighteenth century until the twentieth century and was reprinted in its entirety in The Times for the 500th anniversary of Agincourt in 1915.

As Britain’s Empire expanded over the course of the 19th century, the battle became synonymous with courage in times of adversity. The play was staged during times of military conflict and the famous 1944 film version starring Lawrence Olivier was informed by the Second World War. There was no French translation until 1999 and the play was unsurprisingly not as well received in France as it has been in the English speaking world.

The impact of Agincourt on nationalism continues to the present day. Although Wales was governed by England at the time of the battle, stories of the importance of Welsh archers to the victory over France contributed to modern Welsh national identity. In 1995, Baroness White of Rhymney, wrote to The Times that the victory over the French would not have been possible without “the 5,000 longbowmen, mainly from Gwent.” mid-21st century analysis of the surviving muster rolls, which reveal comparatively limited Welsh participation has done little to changes views of the significance of Agincourt in Wales.

The legacy of Agincourt spread throughout the English speaking world including Canada. In her discussion of the mythology of the battle, Curry discusses the legend of how the Toronto suburb of Agincourt received its name. In 1858, a general store owner in the area named John Hill needed financial support to expand his business and open a post office. A friend from Quebec agreed to invest on the condition that a French name was given to the settlement. Hill chose Agincourt because it was the only name fulfilling the conditions of the investment that was also acceptable to the English and Scottish residents of the community. Curry concludes that the story “may be apocryphal” but is one more example of the Battle of Agincourt’s enduring cultural influence.

Click here to purchase Agincourt: Great Battles Series by Anne Curry from Amazon.ca

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

Next: Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution by David L. Preston

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Upcoming Guest Lecture: Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada at the King Township Historical Society

I will be giving a talk about my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights at the King Township Historical Society’s Annual General Meeting on March 6.

For more information, click here to read the KTHS newsletter.

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

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My Imperial Spain course at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies begins March 15

Losreyescatolicos I am teaching an eight week course about Imperial Spain at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies on Tuesdays from March 15 to May 3, 2016 from 11am to 1pm. All are welcome

Click here to Register

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. Learn about the rise and fall of Imperial Spain and its lessons for politics and international relations today.

Click here to Register

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New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Monarchism

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Monarchism in Canadian history, politics and culture. I discuss the role of monarchism in Canada’s Confederation, monarchist themes in Canadian literature, monarchist societies active in modern day Canada and critiques of monarchism. I also compare attitudes toward the monarchy in Canada with monarchism in other Commonwealth realms.

Click here to read Monarchism in the Canadian Encyclopedia

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Upcoming Guest Lecture: Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World, Thursday, February 18th, 2pm, Fulford Place Museum, Brockville

I will be giving a talk on Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World at Fulford Place Museum in Brockville on Thursday February 18 at 2pm. My book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights will be for sale and I will be signing books after the talk.

Click here for more information on the lecture and the other talks taking place at Fulford Place for Heritage Week

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Review of Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe on the History of Royal Women blog

Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette has been praised by The History of Royal Women blog:

“It’s a very interesting read and Carolyn Harris knows her stuff. Don’t be too frightened by the ‘academic’ air about it, it’s still quite readable even if you aren’t a professor.”

Click here to read to full review of Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe on The History of Royal Women blog.

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My Tedx Talk on Women and Magna Carta

In May 2015, I gave a talk on Women and Magna Carta at the Tedx The Annex Women event in Toronto. Magna Carta promised noble widows freedom from forced remarriage, setting a precedent for future women’s rights legislation. In the talk, I compare the clauses concerning women’s rights in Magna Carta to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and discuss the enduring impact of Magna Carta 800 years after the document was reluctantly accepted by King John in 1215.

Here is my Tedx Talk on Women and Magna Carta:

For more on Magna Carta and the impact of the famous charter on women, see my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

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