Princess Louise in Canada, dressed for an Ottawa winter during her time as vice regal consort of Canada from 1878 to 1883.
My new article in the Royal Studies Journal discusses how Canadian women responded to royal tours from the late eighteenth century to the present day.
Abstract: In the United Kingdom and Canada, support for the monarchy is higher among women than men. From Walter Bagehot’s political theory in the nineteenth century to modern day polling data, monarchism among women is usually attributed to royal events in popular culture from nineteenth-century royal weddings to twenty-first century depictions of the royal family in television and film. Press coverage of royal tours of Canada in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries often depicted women as passive bystanders in crowds, only gradually adding depictions of women as active participants in welcoming royalty.
The history of Canadian women’s responses to royal tours and other public engagements by royalty in Canada from the eighteenth century to the present day reveals that there is a long history of women assuming active roles when royalty are present in Canada, seeking redress in legal cases in the eighteenth century, requesting patronage for organizations benefiting women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and debating the future of the monarchy in Canada in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
The impact of royalty in Canada on women’s lives has become part of Canadian culture and literature. The higher levels of support for monarchism among women compared to men should therefore not be assumed to be due to passively viewing royal weddings, fashions or popular culture alone, but should be placed within this context of women actively engaging with royalty during their public appearances in Canada, viewing royal occasions as opportunities to have their concerns addressed by prominent public figures.
Click here to read “Canadian Women’s Responses to Royal Tours from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day” in the Royal Studies Journal
I discussed a variety topics concerning the royal family including the royal wedding, popular attitudes toward the monarchy in Canada, and The Crown series on Netflix with Courtney Shea at Reader’s Digest Canada.
Click here to read “In Conversation with Royal Historian Carolyn Harris”
Illustration by Aimée Van Drimmelen
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands attending the Tulip Festival in Ottawa in 2002
My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and the unique relationship between Canada and the Netherlands.
“Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld (born 19 January 1943 in Ottawa, ON) spent her early childhood in Canada during the Second World War. The annual Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa emerged from gifts of thousands of tulip bulbs from the Dutch royal family. Margriet continues to make regular visits to Canada, strengthening ties between Canada and the Netherlands.”
Click here to read my article about Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in the Canadian Encyclopedia
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is about Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline of Albany, Countess of Athlone, viceregal consort of Canada from 1940 to 1946 (born 25 February 1883 in Berkshire, United Kingdom; died 3 January 1981 in London, United Kingdom).
Princess Alice promoted Canadian culture and women’s contributions to the Second World War. She was the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and the last member of the royal family to serve as viceregal consort of Canada.
Click here to read Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone in the Canadian Encyclopedia
My latest article in the Canadian Encyclopedia is a biography of Princess Patricia of Connaught.
Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth of Connaught (born 17 March 1886 in London, United Kingdom; died 12 January 1974 in Windlesham, Surrey, United Kingdom). Patricia resided in Canada from 1911 to 1916 and acted as hostess for her father, the Duke of Connaught, during his term as governor general. She gave her name to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and became honorary colonel-in-chief in 1918. A talented artist inspired by Canadian landscapes, she exhibited her paintings in Canadian art exhibitions, and examples of her work remain part of Canadian collections.
Click here to read my article on Princess Patricia of Connaught in the Canadian Encyclopedia
Georges and Pauline Vanier
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.
Click here to read my article about Pauline Vanier in the Canadian Encyclopedia
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.”
Click here to purchase The Canadian Kingdom: 150 Years of Constitutional Monarchy
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.
Click here to view The Canadian Kingdom – Table of Contents
Click here to pre-order The Canadian Kingdom