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
In 2011, the Queen and the Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Perth, Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. All sixteen Commonwealth realms agreed in principle to succession reform that would introduce absolute primogeniture. The monarch’s eldest child, male or female, would succeed to the throne. The succession reforms also addressed the 1701 Act of Settlement, which did not allow those married to Roman Catholics to retain their succession rights and the 1772 Royal Marriage Act. which required the descendants of King George II to receive the monarch’s permission to contract a valid marriage. The introduction of gender of equality in the British and Commonwealth monarchies followed the trend established by the other European monarchies but succession reform proved to be far more complicated for the House of Windsor.
While the sixteen commonwealth realms agreed on the importance of gender equality, reopening the question of the royal succession demonstrated the difficulties of sixteen commonwealth realms with different relationships with the monarchy passing similar legislation. In the United Kingdom, succession reform was criticized for not taking into account the land holdings that have traditionally passed to the heir to the throne through male preference primogeniture. In Australia, succession reform demonstrated the independence of the states in a federal system as Western Australia became the last region of the commonwealth to pass a royal succession bill before the changes came into force. In Canada, the government’s decision to assent to the British succession legislation rather than formulate its own reform legislation was controversial and is currently facing a court challenge.
La Couronne et le Parlement/The Crown and Parliament, which emerged from the May 2014 conference by the Canadian Study of Parliament Group is an essential resource for the debate concerning succession reform in Canada. The four chapters in the book concerning succession reform address all sides of the debate. Anne Twomey’s chapter, “The Succession to the Crown of Canada” is particularly fascinating as it compares Canada’s approach to succession reform to the changes enacted in other Commonwealth realms and compares modern succession reform to the Dominion response to the Abdication crisis of 1936. In the chapter on “The Crown and Constitutional Amendment” in Canada, Philippe Lagassé and Patrick Baud examine Section 41a of the Constitution Act of 1982, which concerns changes to the office of the queen, looking at the implications of the various interpretations of this passage for succession reform and the broader role of the Crown in Canada. In contrast, Mark D. Walters and The Honorable Serge Joyal discuss the Canadian assent to British succession reform legislation in successive chapters, discussing crown identification and the development of the constitutional monarchy in Canada.
In addition to explaining all sides of the Canadian debate on succession reform, the essays in La Couronne et le Parlement/The Crown and Parliament provide important historical and political context for the modern relationship between the Crown and Parliament, beginning with an overview of the history two institutions by André Émond. Political innovations that reflected the circumstances of individual reigns set established precedents in the relationship between Crown and Parliament. For example, prior to the reign of Henry VIII, royal assent was granted by the monarch in person at a ceremony where the entire text of a bill was read aloud. That changed in 1541 when Henry VIII expressed reluctance to give personal royal assent to the Bill of Attainder that condemned his 5th wife, Catherine Howard to death. The result was a new process of granting royal assent to legislation, royal assent by commission.
As David Smith, author of The Invisible Crown: The First Principle of Canadian Government observes in his chapter about Parliament and the Crown, there is a divide between public perceptions of the Governor General’s position and the constitutional role of the Crown. La Couronne et le Parlement/The Crown and Parliament bridges this divide by bringing together a broad range on scholarship on Canada’s political institutions. The book is essential reading for any Canadian who wants to learn more about the crucial relationship between the Crown and Parliament.
Next Week: The Tudor Kitchen: What the Tudors Ate & Drank by Terry Brevertonby
My article on Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the cousin of King Charles II who became the first Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, is the cover story for the October-November issue of Canada’s History Magazine. In the article, I discuss Rupert’s adventure filled life including his escape from Prague during the 30 Years War as a child, his victories and defeats as a cavalier general during the English Civil Wars, his time as privateer in the royalist navy and his meeting with explorers Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers that led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company.by