Ben Franklin’s World Podcast Interview: Magna Carta and Its Gifts to North America

038-Harris (1) I am interviewed on this week’s episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History. The interview, with fellow historian Liz Covart, is about Magna Carta and Its Gifts to North America, comparing the impact of Magna Carta on the United States and Canada. I also discuss how Magna Carta was imposed on King John by his rebel barons in 1215 and the legal rights – including rights for women – that were codified in the Great Charter.

Click here to listen to Magna Carta and Its Gifts to North America at Ben Franklin’s World

For more on Magna Carta, see my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

Canadian Geographic Magazine Interview: The Charter of the Forest

Medieval_forestMagna Carta is not the only historic Charter touring Canada this year. Magna Carta’s lesser known companion document, the Charter of the Forest, is also on tour as part of the Magna Carta Canada exhibition. In my Interview about the Charter of the Forest in Canadian Geographic Magazine I discuss why the Charter of the Forest, first issued in 1217, affected more people than Magna Carta in the thirteenth century, what “evil customs relating to the forests” the Charter promised to reform and why there are environmentalists today who wish the Charter of the Forest was as famous as as Magna Carta.

Click here to read my Interview about the Charter of the Forest with the Canadian Geographic.

For more about the Charter of the Forest, see my article on the Charter of the Forest on the Magna Carta Canada site and my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

CBC News Interview: Princess Charlotte’s christening: A balance between private celebration and public show

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge’s christening will take place on Sunday July 5 at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate. The last Princess born into the royal family, Princess Eugenie, was christened there in 1990 as part of the regular Sunday service open to the public but Charlotte’s christening will be a balance between public and private. The ceremony will be attended by close family and godparents but the public will be able to gather outside the church to see the royal family as they do at Christmas.

Click here to read my interview with CBC News: Princess Charlotte’s christening: A balance between private celebration and public show

Interview: The Great Kate Debate: Is it Kate Middleton or HRH The Duchess of Cambridge?

Prince Harry and Kate Middleton (later the Duchess of Cambridge) attending Prince William's 2008 Investiture into the Order of the Garter

Prince Harry and Kate Middleton, future Duchess of Cambridge  in 2008 

My interview with Yahoo Shine Canada discusses why the Duchess of Cambridge is still known to much of the public as Kate Middleton more than four years after her marriage to Prince William. I also discuss the history of royal nicknames from what Queen Victoria called the multiple granddaughters who shared her name to Canada’s Princess Pat, as another one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, Princess Patricia of Connaught, became known.

Click here to read “The Great Kate Debate: Is it Kate Middleton or HRH The Duchess of Cambridge?” at Yahoo Shine Canada

Column in the National Post: Magna Carta established that nobody, not even the king, was above the law of the land


My column in today’s National Post discusses the history of Magna Carta and its continuing influence on politics and law today, including in Canada. King John was the first English monarch to accept limits on his powers imposed by his subjects, beginning the process that the led to the development of constitutional monarchy, Canada’s system of government. The legal rights codified in Magna Carta expanded in the scope during the 13th and 14th centuries. Magna Carta emerged from medieval times as a document that applied to people of varied backgrounds, not just the nobility, informing the Common Law system that would be employed throughout the English speaking world.

Click here to read “Magna Carta established that nobody, not even the king, was above the law of the land” in the National Post

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

New Canadian Encyclopedia Article: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837–1901) was the first monarch to celebrate 60 years on the throne. Celebrations to honour the grand occasion — the first Diamond Jubilee — showcased the Queen’s role as “mother” of the British Empire and its Dominions, including Canada. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier led the Canadian delegation to the London ceremonies, while communities across Canada held their own civic celebrations in honour of the Queen.

Click here to read “Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – 1897″ in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Toronto Star Interview: King John known for murder and Magna Carta

My interview with the Toronto Star “King John known for murder and Magna Carta” discussed the notorious King and how his reputation has gone from bad to worse during the centuries following his death. I compare and contrast King John to Richard III, another controversial English king. While there is a debate about whether Richard III was unfairly maligned by Tudor historians, John is consistently presented as a villain in both the history books and popular culture.

Click here to read “King John known for murder and Magna Carta” in the Toronto Star

I also discuss the reputation of Richard I “the Lionheart” in another Toronto Star article, “Ten things you didn’t know about King John and Magna Carta

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

Radio&TV Interviews for Monday June 15, the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

Monday June 15 is the 800th anniversary of King John reluctantly affixing his seal to Magna Carta. I will be discussing my book,  Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, the history of Magna Carta and its impact on the modern world including Canada on radio and TV. Here’s the schedule for Monday:

CBC Syndicated Radio between 6-9am ET

6:00 Windsor
6:40 Ontario
7:00 Kitchener
7:20 Winnipeg
7:40 Edmonton
7:50 Whitehorse
8:10 Victoria
8:20 Saskatoon
8:40 Vancouver

CTV News Channel 11am ET

Newstalk 610CKTB, St. Catherines, 4:15pm ET

All these times are subject to change.

Book Excerpt in the Ottawa Citizen: Magna Carta and Women’s Rights

An excerpt from my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights about Magna Carta and women’s rights was published in the Ottawa Citizen today as part of a feature issue on the Great Charter. Magna Carta guaranteed noblewomen freedom from forced remarriage during their widowhood and set precedents future legal reforms that improved the position of women in society.

Click here to read “Magna Carta and Women’s Rights” in the Ottawa Citizen

My writing on Magna Carta is also quoted in this Ottawa Citizen article: “Magna Carta: The “essence” of the West or irrelevant scrap of parchment?”

CBC News Interview: Magna Carta: From King John’s lechery and treachery to our liberty

19th century representation of King John accepting Magna Carta in 1215

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