My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia discusses The Honourable Pauline Vanier, PC, CC (born 28 March 1898 in Montreal, Quebec; died 23 March 1991 in l’Arche, France), vice regal consort of Canada from 1959 to 1967 and chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1966 to 1973. Vanier was the first woman outside party politics to be appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council. She cofounded the Vanier Institute of the Family in 1965 with her husband, Georges Vanier, and became one of the first companions of the Order of Canada in 1967 for her humanitarian work.
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:
The 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting takes place this week in the United Kingdom. This event is not only an opportunity for Commonwealth leaders to celebrate the Queen’s commitment to this intergovernmental organization over the course of her long reign but to consider the organization’s future. In contrast to the Crown, the position of Head of the Commonwealth does not automatically pass to the next generation and the current Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate the involvement of the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry in Commonwealth issues including the environment and youth leadership.
I discussed the Queen, the royal family and the future of the Commonwealth in a series of CBC interviews on Tuesday April 17. Click here to listen to the interview with Dave White at CBC Whitehorse.
The Canadian Kingdom: 150 Years of Constitutional Monarchy, edited by D. Michael Jackson was published by Dundurn Press today. The book contains a chapter I wrote about the history of Royalty and the Arts in Canada from the eighteenth century to the present day. Click here to purchase The Canadian Kingdom: 150 Years of Constitutional Monarchy
From the introduction of The Canadian Kingdom:
“In “Royalty and the Arts in Canada,” Carolyn Harris examines royal interest in Canadian culture over the three centuries since Queen Anne. The royal family have paid particular attention to the artistic heritage of the Indigenous Peoples, paralleling the intimate link between the Crown and the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. A daughter of Queen Victoria, the accomplished artist Princess Louise gave a big boost to Canadian culture when she was chatelaine of Rideau Hall with her husband Lord Lorne, governor general from 1878 to 1883. Vigorous royal support resumed when the artistic Princess Patricia, daughter of Louise’s brother the Duke of Connaught, accompanied her father during his term as governor general from 1911 to 1916. Harris points out that the present Queen and her family are very much involved as patrons and collectors of the arts in contemporary Canada. Indeed, she refers to Elizabeth II as the “curator monarch” and believes that “the continued close ties between the royal family, the creation of fine art, and the Royal Collection suggest a dynamic future for royal involvement in the arts in Canada.”
I contributed a chapter about Royalty and the Arts in Canada to The Canadian Kingdom edited by D. Michael Jackson and published by Dundurn Press. The book will be published next month.
Queen Elizabeth II’s role as a curator monarch over the course of her long reign has exerted a profound impact on Canadian art and culture, building upon centuries of patronage of Canadian artists, architects, and cultural institutions by past generations of royalty, most notably members of the royal family who resided in Canada for years at a time. A number of Canada’s past royal residents, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise and granddaughter Princess Patricia, were accomplished artists in their own right who raised the profile of Canadian galleries by founding new cultural institutions, attending events, submitting their pieces for judgement in Canadian exhibitions, and donating their work. Over the course of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has loaned or donated art to Canadian cultural institutions and acquired works by Canadian artists for the Royal Collection, expanding the scope of royal involvement in the arts in Canada and setting precedents for artistic patronage by future generations in the royal family.
My review of Crowns and Colonies: European Monarchies and Overseas Empires, edited by Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery has been published in the December 2017 issue of the Royal Studies Journal.
The Royal Studies Journal is available online. Click here to read Aldrich & McCreery (eds.), Crowns and Colonies: European Monarchies and Overseas Empires (Manchester University Press, 2016), reviewed by Carolyn Suzanne Harris
I will be giving two Friday afternoon lectures later this month at Market Gallery in Toronto about royal tours of Toronto, complementing the Maple Leaf Forever exhibition currently on display there. Afternoon tea will be served at both events and my books Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada and Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting will be for sale.
On November 17, I will be discussing the 1860 royal tour of Canada by Queen Victoria’s eldest son, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), which set key precedents for subsequent royal tours. More details about the talk are available here.
On November 24, I will be discussing Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to Toronto from 1951 to 2010. More details about the talk are available here.
As governor general, the Earl of Aberdeen and his wife, Lady Aberdeen, focused on social welfare and engaging with Canadians of various backgrounds and cultures, setting precedents for the philanthropic initiatives of future governors general. Aberdeen also owned an estate in the Okanagan Valley and pioneered commercial fruit growing in the region.
I discussed the history of the role of the Governor General of Canada with the National Post. In contrast to the United Kingdom, where the Prime Minister and the Queen meet on a weekly basis, there is no set precedent in Canada for regular meetings between the Prime Minister and Governor General. As explained in the National Post:
“However, prime ministers and governors general might become best friends anyway. Royal historian Carolyn Harris told the National Post that Sir John A. Macdonald and Lord Dufferin were so close that Macdonald became godfather to the governor general’s son.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended the Invictus Games wheelchair tennis event at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on September 24, their first official appearance together. I discussed the significance of this event with the Canadian Press. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.
“Some royal watchers had earlier suggested the couple would hold off on a public appearance together for fear of stealing the spotlight away from the Games, but Harris said their presence has, in fact, brought more attention to the event.
She said it is interesting that they chose to attend wheelchair tennis together, noting that tennis courts have been “the setting for royal events since the Middle Ages.”