The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is one month away and the preparations include both centuries of royal tradition and new innovations introduced by the royal couple. I discussed the preparations for the royal wedding as well as the history of royal weddings at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle with Global News. Here is the interview:
Windsor Castle was built during the reign of William the Conqueror and has been a royal residence since the reign of William’s youngest son Henry I, who married his second wife, Adeliza of Louvain, there. Beginning in the reign of Edward III in the fourteenth century, the castle became associated with Order of the Garter ceremonies rather than royal wedding celebrations until the reign of Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century. Six of Queen Victoria’s nine children were married in St. George’s Chapel and the chapel remains a popular royal wedding venue for junior members of the royal family.
Like Westminster Abbey in London, St. George’s Chapel is the setting royal funerals as well as royal weddings. When Meghan Markle walks down the aisle, she will pass over the modest memorial plaque to King Henry VIII who is buried in the chapel. Henry VIII married six times but he chose to be interred with his third wife, Jane Seymour, who died giving birth to his only legitimate son, King Edward VI.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in British Columbia in 1939
I discussed the royal family during the Second World War with Tristin Hopper at the National Post. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their children, the future Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret were determined to remain together in Britain but there were contingency plans in the event of a German invasion, including the purchase of Hatley Castle in British Columbia by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King as a possible wartime residence for the royal family.
Before the announcement that Prince Philip would be retiring from public life at the end of the summer, there was widespread speculation on social media that Buckingham Palace would be announcing his death on the morning of May 4 as members of the royal household gathered for an “eleventh hour” meeting.
How royal parents dealt with raising their children over the past thousand years, from keeping 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 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 faced unique challenges and held unique privileges. In medieval times, raising an heir often meant raising a rival, and monarchs sometimes faced their grown children on the battlefield. Conversely, kings and queens who lost their thrones in wars or popular revolutions often 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.
In January and February 2016, I will be teaching an eight week course on Wednesday afternoons about Artists and Their Royal Patrons at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Click here to register
For centuries, artists sought out royal patrons to advance their careers. European monarchs were eager to fill their courts with artists to demonstrate their own acumen and prestige. Through lectures, images and discussions, Carolyn Harris will lead you through a lively exploration of the relations between great artists and their royal patrons. These include Hans Holbein and Henry VIII, Leonardo da Vinci and François I, Anthony van Dyck and Charles I, Peter Paul Rubens and Marie de Medici, and Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun and Marie Antoinette. We will look at Catherine the Great, who helped found the Hermitage Museum, and Queen Elizabeth II, who is appreciated as a “curator monarch” for her part in opening the British Royal Collection to the public. You’ll learn more about the collaboration and tension between royalty and artists that produced some of Europe’s most famous works of art and established collections now featured in great museums around the world.
Review: “Harris’ richly detailed comparative study of Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette offers fresh perspective on how both queens understood their roles as heads of households, wives, and mothers and how, in turn, those roles were interpreted by their husbands’ subjects. Combining a rigorous review of the literature with new research and original analytical insights, Harris has crafted an eminently readable and engaging work that effectively illuminates the complex nature of early modern queenship and revolution.” –Michelle White, UC Foundation Professor of History, University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, USA
About the book: Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England were two of the most notorious queens in European history. They both faced accusations that they had transgressed social, gender and regional norms, and attempted to defend themselves against negative reactions to their behavior. Each queen engaged with the debates of her time concerning the place of women within their families, religion, politics, the public sphere and court culture and attempted to counter criticism of her foreign origins and political influence. The impeachment of Henrietta Maria in 1643 and trial and execution of Marie Antoinette in 1793 were also trials of monarchical government that shaped the English Civil Wars and French Revolution.