Hello! Canada Interview: The Life of a Princess

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The newborn Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (photo credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

I talked to Hello! Canada about the lives of Princesses past and present for the magazine’s special edition on the birth of Princess Charlotte.

Click here to read  The Life of a Princess in Hello! Canada

Toronto Star Interview: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduce new princess to the world

The Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie at the premiere of The Young Victoria in 2009. Photo by Brent Perniac/AdMedia/KEYSTONE Press

The Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice (right) and Princess Eugenie at the premiere of The Young Victoria in 2009. Photo by Brent Perniac/AdMedia/KEYSTONE Press

My latest interview with the Toronto Star discusses recent royal princesses. The last princess to be born in the United Kingdom was Princess Eugenie, the younger of the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York. Eugenie was born in 1990. In 2003, the Countess of Wessex gave birth to a baby girl but she was styled Lady Louise rather than Princess Louise as the Earl and Countess of Wessex wished for their children to be styled as children of an earl. The newborn Princess of Cambridge is therefore the first princess to be born in the United Kingdom in 25 years.

Click here to read “Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduce new princess to the world” in the Toronto Star

Today.com Interview: Could she be queen? See where the new royal baby fits in line to the throne

The Duchess of Cambridge with the newborn Prince George of Cambridge in July, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge with the newborn Prince George of Cambridge in July, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby girl at 8:34am (BT) on May 2. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz and the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. My interview with Today.com discusses the experiences of past royal second children. In the past century,  the press has often portrayed ‘the spare’ as the more spontaneous royal sibling, enjoying wealth and privilege without the responsibilities of kingship. Over the long course of royal history, however, there has always been the distinct possibility that a second royal child might succeed to the throne. The most recent “spare” to become the reigning monarch was Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI.

Click here to read “Could she be queen? See where the new royal baby fits in line to the throne”

The interview also mentions my first book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, which was published today!

CBC Interview: Royal Baby 2: The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne

Queen Mary with her granddaughters Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. George V's consort believed that younger royals should be prepared for their future life of public service.

Queen Mary with her granddaughters Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.

My latest interview for CBC.ca discusses “The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne.” For recent “spares” such as Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, there has been the challenge of carving out a meaningful role in public life. Both Andrew and Harry experienced success in their military careers but Andrew has faced criticism since leaving the military and there is speculation that Harry may face challenges finding a new role once he finishes his secondment with the Australian forces.

For the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, life as “the spare” initially seemed glamorous but she was discouraged from marrying the man she loved and, like Prince Andrew, was criticized for her travel and spending. Before the current reign, however, “the spare” had a good chance of succeeding to the throne. George VI, George V, Charles I and Henry VIII were all second sons while Elizabeth I and Queen Anne were second daughters. There have been other monarchs were born even further down the line of succession. Henry I, King John and Richard III were all fourth surviving sons and Queen Victoria was the daughter of King George III’s fourth son.

Click here to read “Royal Baby 2: The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne”

National Post Interview: ‘Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers

Princess Alice of Bettenberg (1885-1969), mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885-1969), mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

My latest interview on the history of royal baby names, “Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers” is in the National Post. There is widespread speculation that the royal baby will be a girl. Both of the names favoured by the British bookmakers, Alice and Charlotte have royal antecedents. Queen Victoria’s second daughter was Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt and her great-granddaughter was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip. One of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone was the consort of the Governor General of Canada during the Second World War.

Charlotte was a popular royal name in Georgian England as it was the name of George III’s queen, Charlotte of Mecklenberg, her daughter, Princess Charlotte of Württemberg and her ill fated granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales, who died in childbirth in 1817, giving birth to a stillborn son. Princess Charlotte of Wales was second-in-line to the throne at the time of her death and her pregnancy was the first instance of bookmakers taking bets on whether a royal baby would be a boy or a girl.

Click here to read Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers

Toronto Star Interview: “British royal ‘spares’ seldom reign, but they do seem to have more fun”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at The 2011 Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum in London.  (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at The 2011 Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum in London. (Photo by Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

My interview with Katie Daubs in the Toronto Star discusses the role of “the spare” in recent royal history from the future King George V to Prince Harry today. Younger royal children are often portrayed in the press as more spontaneous and fun-loving than the eldest sibling who is destined to reign. There are times, however, when the spare becomes the heir. Both Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather, George V, and father, George VI, were second sons who became monarchs due to unexpected circumstances.

Click here to read “British royal ‘spares’ seldom reign, but they do seem to have more fun.”

CBC Interview: A decided lack of fuss over William and Kate’s Royal Baby 2

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrive in Sydney. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrive in Sydney. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

My latest CBC interview compares the more subdued popular interest in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second baby with the media frenzy that accompanied the birth of Prince George in 2013. In 2013, journalists were camped outside the hospital for nearly a month before the arrival of the royal baby and the final weeks before the birth were known as “The Great Kate Wait.” In 2015, the second royal baby has been overshadowed by British politics: the announcement was made just before the Scottish independence referendum and the birth will take place just before the United Kingdom general election.

Click here to read “A decided lack of fuss over William and Kate’s Royal Baby 2″ at CBC.ca

 

Interview: What will royal Baby Cambridge No. 2 be named?

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at the polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at a polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child is due later this month and speculation continues regarding possible names. My most recent interview about the history of royal baby names discusses some of the possible contenders including Arthur, which is one of Prince William’s middle names and Charlotte, which has a royal pedigree and has been used by the Middleton family.  The article also mentions my forthcoming book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights

Click here to read What will royal Baby Cambridge No. 2 be named?

CBC Interview: Royal baby names: What’s likely for William and Kate’s 2nd child?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate – are expecting their second child this month. I discussed possible royal baby names with Janet Davison at CBC.ca. There are numerous predictions that “Alice” will be chosen for a girl. Alice was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite names for girls and the name of a number of her descendants including Prince Philip’s mother. I also discuss the impact of royalty on baby name choices in Canada, including the reason “Louise” and “Lorne” became popular Canadian baby names by the early twentieth century.

Click here to read Royal baby names: What’s likely for William and Kate’s 2nd child?

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber: Sunday December 21 at 8pm ET on PBS

Lucy Worsley When Victoria became Queen in 1837, she shut the door of the royal bedchamber to the public. The government officials who traditionally attended royal births were relegated to the adjoining room while only the Queen’s consort, Prince Albert, and medical staff were permitted in the bedchamber for the arrival of the royal children. The Queen observed a strict separation between her public life and her domestic life. In Tales from the Royal Bedchamber,  Dr. Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, reveals that the monarch’s bedchamber was a ceremonial space in Tudor and Stuart times where proximity to the monarch meant proximity to political power.

Worsley presents the history of the English royal bedchamber with enthusiasm and energy. She climbs into beds to test just how comfortable they were, showing that it was impossible to lie entirely flat on a hammock-like, collapsible  medieval royal bed frame. She also tries her hand at silk weaving. Sitting on the edge of royal beds, Worsley has interesting discussions about royal marriage, mistresses and childbearing with a broad range of fellow curators, historians and authors such as Anna Whitelock, Tracy Borman and Helen Rappaport.

Perhaps the most engaging part of the documentary is Worsley’s description of the rumours that the son of James II and Mary of Modena, born in 1688, was a “warming pan baby” smuggled into the Queen’s bed to replace a stillborn child. Worsley shows viewers a warming pan, an early form of hot water bottle that was too small to hold a baby,  draws the supposed route the warming pan took through state rooms to the royal bedchamber and describes the crowd that witnessed the actual birth. The warming pan baby story was a convenient fiction to justify the Glorious Revolution&accession of William III and Mary II.

Since Worsley is chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, much of the documentary is filmed in royal bedchambers of the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. There is also a visit to the Isle of Wight to view the memorial to Queen Victoria in the private bedchamber where she died at Osborne House. If the program were longer, a trip across the channel to Versailles would have shown the origins of certain late seventeenth century English court practices. It is no coincidence that the late Stuart monarchs commissioned elaborate state beds after the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660. Charles II was first cousin to Louis XIV  and spent part of his exile in France, observing the elaborate ceremonies that took place when the King rose from his bed in the morning or retired in the evening.

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber is a look behind the royal bed curtains of centuries past. Before Queen Victoria shut the door, the whole court thought they had the right to know exactly what took place in the royal bed. The modern fascination with the private life of the royal family is as old as monarchy itself.