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.by
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.
In addition to posting about history, royalty and Magna Carta here, I am also writing about Toronto’s walking trails, history and landscapes on my new blog, A Long Walk from Toronto: Travels on the Trans-Canada Trail. In A Long Walk from Toronto, I follow the Toronto section of the trail, east of Yonge Street, writing about the history of the various places along the path. The current post, The Prince Edward Viaduct, combines royal history and Toronto history, discussing the famous bridge named for the future King Edward VIII.by
My interview with Michael Hingston, books editor of the Edmonton Journal discusses the Magna Carta Canada exhibition (at the Alberta Legislature until December 29), why everyone should read Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights before viewing Magna Carta, and the impact of Magna Carta on Canada and the world.
Click here to purchase your copy of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rightsby
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 purchase my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rightsby
The Magna Carta Canada exhibition opens at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton on November 23. Magna Carta will be on display there until December 29. I will be speaking and signing books in Edmonton on November 26 and 27. Here are the public events:
On November 26 at 12pm I will be speaking at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law about my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights and the enduring impact of Magna Carta on the Modern World. Pizza will be served.
On November 27, I will be signing copies of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights at Audrey’s Books from 12pm until 1:30pm
Click here to read my interview with the Ms. Magna Carta faculty blog at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law about writing, the book, the impact of Magna Carta and whether King John should be considered the worst king in English history.by
My 1st book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights has been reviewed in Resource Links Magazine for teachers and recommended for students in Grades 9-12.
Here is an excerpt from the review: “Lavishly illustrated throughout, Dr. Harris gives a well-rounded history of the document and its creation and guiding principles. She explains the impact of the document right through to seeing it as a basis of the United Nations’ Universal declaration of Human Rights. Of particular interest to students may be the importance of the Magna Carta in Canada’s history through to the present day. As well, Dr. Harris looks at the impact of it on the American and French Revolution…Highly recommended for both school and public libraries.”
Click here to read the full Resource Links review
Click to here to purchase Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rightsby
This year, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British and modern Canadian history, surpassing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1837-1901) My most recent article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the second to be celebrated after that of Queen Victoria in 1897. I discuss the preparations for the celebrations, the Diamond Jubilee Medals in Canada, the Thames Diamond Jubilee river pageant and Commonwealth tours by members of the royal family including the Canadian tour by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.by
While I was in Saskatoon last week, CTV news visited my book signing at the University of Saskatchewan. I was interviewed about the my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights and the cultural impact of Magna Carta.by
While Magna Carta is on display at Fort York in Toronto, I will be delivering a series of lectures based on my book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, at the historic Blue Barracks, which will be transformed into the Runnymede pub for the duration of the Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy exhibition. Here is the lecture schedule:
October 7 and 8: King John and the Making of Magna Carta
Wednesday, October 7, 2 – 3 p.m.
Thursday, October 8, 8 – 9 p.m. (Pub open 6 – 10 pm)
When King John’s rebel barons presented him with terms of Magna Carta, they did not see themselves as revolutionaries but as guarantors of traditional English rights and customs. King John’s predecessors issued Coronation Charters promising to uphold traditional English customs and the rights of the barons and clergy. When King John refused to uphold these traditions and his barons rebelled, he was presented with Magna Carta, the first example of a king accepting limits on his power imposed by his subjects. Tickets are available here.
October 14 and 15: King Edward I “Longshanks” and Magna Carta in 1300
Wednesday, October 14, 2 – 3 p.m.
Thursday, October 15, 8 – 9 p.m (Pub open 6 – 10 pm)
Today, Edward I – known as Longshanks for his great height – is best known as the villain of Mel Gibson’s 1995 film Braveheart but in his own lifetime, he earned the respect of his English subjects through his military victories in Scotland and Wales. The King’s wars required the financial and military support of his people. In exchange for taxes and troops, Edward I’s subjects expected him to accept the terms of Magna Carta and Edward I reissued the document numerous times during his reign. Clauses from the Edward I’s Magna Carta remain on the Statute Books in the UK. Tickets are available here.
October 21 and 22: Magna Carta and the Making of the Modern World
Wednesday, October 21, 2 – 3 p.m.
Thursday, October 22, 8 – 9 p.m. (Pub open 6 – 10 pm)
In Tudor times, Magna Carta fell into obscurity and became an obscure legal document. A strong monarch seemed necessary to protect England for external threats and Shakespeare’s play, King John, does not even mention the Great Charter. Magna Carta emerged from obscurity because of the legal writing of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) who argued that document was the foundation of all English liberties. Coke’s interpretation of Magna Carta informed the American and French Revolutions and the development of modern Canada, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tickets are available here.
Click here to purchase my book Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights