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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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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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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Interview in The Independent: Spain’s ‘wayward’ Infanta Cristina absent from annual military parade ahead of fraud trial

Princess Letizia, Prince Felipe, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Photo credit: Abraham Carralero/Getty

Princess Letizia, Prince Felipe, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Photo credit: Abraham Carralero/Getty

King Felipe VI of Spain’s sister, Infanta Cristina will face charges of tax fraud on Monday.  I was interviewed about the likely repercussions of the trial for Spain’s royal family by Alistair Dawber at the The Independent.

The charges against Cristina are contributing to a generational divide regarding support for the monarchy in Spain. As I discussed in a previous column, those who remember Francisco Franco’s dictatorship admire former King King Juan Carlos for managing a peaceful transition to a constitutional monarchy. In contrast, there are many younger people who view the monarchy as out of touch with current economic conditions in Spain. While King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their children are personally popular, the charges against Cristina and Juan Carlos’s 2012 elephant hunt damaged the reputation of the royal family.

I do not believe Cristina will resume a more prominent role in the royal family, even if she is acquitted of the charges. There is a general trend in Europe toward more streamlined royal families that emphasize the public role of the monarch and his or her consort and children instead of the larger royal families of the past where a wider circle of relatives would represent the monarch and perform public engagements.

Click here to read, Spain’s ‘wayward’ Infanta Cristina absent from annual military parade ahead of fraud trial in The Independent

Click here to enroll in my Spring course, “Imperial Spain” at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies 

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My lecture on Victorian Christmas traditions at Toronto’s 1st Post Office (December 13, 6-9pm)

 I will be giving a talk on Victorian Christmas customs and the impact of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on how we celebrate Christmas today at Toronto’s 1st post office on December 13 from 6-9pm. There will be holiday treats and carol singing. Click here for more information including ticket prices

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My radio interview with Alberta Morning News about Magna Carta

I was interviewed about my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights by Alberta Morning News, which is broadcast in Calgary and Edmonton. I discuss the enduring legacy of Magna Carta eight centuries after King John reluctantly affixed his seal to the document and the Magna Carta Canada exhibition, which opens at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton on November 23.

The interview is available in the Newstalk 770 AM audio vault – November 22, 7am (The interview begins around 7:05am)

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My Magna Carta Interview in Beyond The Hill

I discussed the history of King John and Magna Carta and its impact on modern Canada, as well as my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, with Beyond The Hill: Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. The interview is on pages 28 and 29 of the magazine.

Click here to read Magna Carta Tours Canada: 800 Years and Its Place in History in Beyond the Hill

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

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