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.
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).
My book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, is now available for purchase from bookstores in the United States and United Kingdom!
Click here to order Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights from Amazon.com
Click here to order Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights from Amazon.co.uk
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.
My latest interview for Yahoo Shine Canada discusses the wide range of official duties performed by royalty today. Since the reign of King George III, philanthropy has been a key role for royalty, especially princesses. Queen Victoria’s five daughters all assumed charitable patronages, many of which were devoted to the health and education of women and girls. Today, representing Queen Elizabeth II at official engagements is also an important role for members of the royal family. The Queen and Prince Philip have reduced their overseas travel in recent years and their children and grandchildren often represent them outside the United Kingdom.
My interview with Melissa Dunne at Yahoo Shine Canada discusses the impact of royalty on baby name choices. Until the First World War, marriages between British royalty and foreign royalty made new names popular in the English speaking world. In medieval times, Eleanor and Isabelle entered England through royal marriages while the eighteenth century saw Caroline and Charlotte become popular girls names due to royal influence.
Royalty who resided in Canada for long periods of time had a unique impact on Canadian baby name trends. From 1878 to 1883, Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise and her husband, Lord Lorne resided in Canada while Lorne was Governor General. The presence of Royalty at Rideau Hall made “Lorne” and “Louise” popular Canadian baby names in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. (For more on Princess Louise and Lord Lorne in Canada, see the chapter I contributed to Canada and the Crown: Essays in Constitutional Monarchy.)
My latest interview with the Toronto Star discusses recent royal princesses. The last princess to be born in the United Kingdom was Princess Eugenie, the younger of the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York. Eugenie was born in 1990. In 2003, the Countess of Wessex gave birth to a baby girl but she was styled Lady Louise rather than Princess Louise as the Earl and Countess of Wessex wished for their children to be styled as children of an earl. The newborn Princess of Cambridge is therefore the first princess to be born in the United Kingdom in 25 years.
I am quoted in this Toronto Star article “Prince William tells crowd family is ‘very happy’” about the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child. Prince William left the hospital a few hours after the birth to collect his son Prince George and bring him to St. Mary’s hospital. As I discuss in the article, there is immense public interest in Prince George’s appearances because there are so few of them. Prince George was seen leaving the hospital the day after his birth in 2013, at his christening that same year and on the 2014 Australia and New Zealand tour but this is his first official public appearance as a toddler.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby girl at 8:34am (BT) on May 2. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz and the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. My interview with Today.com discusses the experiences of past royal second children. In the past century, the press has often portrayed ‘the spare’ as the more spontaneous royal sibling, enjoying wealth and privilege without the responsibilities of kingship. Over the long course of royal history, however, there has always been the distinct possibility that a second royal child might succeed to the throne. The most recent “spare” to become the reigning monarch was Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI.
The interview also mentions my first book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, which was published today!