New Smithsonian Article: Medieval Mothers Had to Marry and Murder to Get Their Way

A 19th century illustration imagining Queen Elfrida welcoming her stepson King Edward the Martyr to her home, moments before his murder by one of her henchmen.

My Mother’s Day article in Smithsonian Magazine discusses the medieval English royal mothers who feature in the first few chapters of my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, including Elfrida, Emma of Normandy, Matilda of Flanders and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Elfrida and Emma dealt with their children’s rivals in very different ways: Elfrida may have arranged the murder of her stepson while Emma married an invading Viking king who claimed her son’s throne. Matilda and Eleanor, the queens to William and the Conqueror and Henry II respectively, intervened in warfare between their husbands and sons.

Click here to read “Medieval Mothers Had to Marry and Murder to Get Their Way” in Smithsonian Magazine

 Click here to purchase my book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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National Post review of Raising Royalty: “Murder your children’s rivals, and other parenting tips from royals”

19th century portrait of Peter the Great interrogating his son, Alexei

My new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, is featured in the weekend National Post including quotes from the chapters about Peter the Great, Queen Victoria and Henry VIII.

“[The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge] want Princess Charlotte and Prince George to go to the local school. They want to be hands-on parents. On the day George left the hospital, William wrestled with the lad’s car seat, a performance reenacted daily by new dads the world over. The message they hoped you’d glean from it? Will and Kate are just like you and me.

In her new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, Canadian historian Carolyn Harris reveals there may be other parenting tips to be gleaned from royal watching. With Harris as inspiration, we offer six tips from moms and dads who also happened to be monarchs.”

Click here to read “Murder your children’s rivals, and other parenting tips from royals” in the National Post

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New Quartz Article: The history of British royalty proves raising a kid is always a group effort

Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge in Victoria, British Columbia (Photo Credit: The Canadian Press)

My latest article in Quartz Magazine discussed the role of the extended family in royal parenting over the centuries.

“As I discuss in my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, the upbringing of a royal child has always included a wide circle of people including grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, tutors, nannies and governesses. In fact, royal parenting has acquired a negative reputation over the centuries because of how often kings and queens delegated the daily routine of childrearing to their extended family and household. But there’s another way of looking at this tradition: Royal children have had a large support system during both good times and difficult times.”

Click here to read “The history of British royalty proves raising a kid is always a group effort” in Quartz Magazine

Click here to purchase my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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Dundurn Press Interview: A Q&A with Carolyn Harris, author of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

I discussed the process of writing my new book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting with my publisher, Dundurn Press for the Dundurn blog. The interview includes how I decided to write about royal parenting, the research process and my current projects.

From the interview with Dundurn Press: “I wanted to examine whether royalty through the centuries had followed the parenting advice of their times and how the public viewed them according to prevailing parenting ideas.”

Click here to read “A Q&A with Carolyn Harris”

Click here to purchase a copy of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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CBC News Interview: ‘Protector of the Royal Family’: How Prince Philip helped modernize the monarchy

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

My latest CBC News interview discusses Prince Philip’s role in modernizing the monarchy including his support of the Queen’s decision to invite television cameras into Westminster Abbey for her 1953 coronation.

Click here to read ‘Protector of the Royal Family’: How Prince Philip helped modernize the monarchy at CBC News

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University of Toronto News Interview: Prince Philip rumours go viral

Prince Philip in 2008.

Before the announcement that Prince Philip would be retiring from public life at the end of the summer, there was widespread speculation on social media that Buckingham Palace would be announcing his death on the morning of May 4 as members of the royal household gathered for an “eleventh hour” meeting.

There were also more optimistic theories including the idea that forthcoming renovations to Buckingham Palace would prompt an announcement that the Queen and Prince Philip were moving to Windsor Castle or Balmoral for an extended period of time. In an interview with University of Toronto news, I discuss the timeless fascination with events behind palace doors and how the internet has accelerated the spread of royal rumors.

Buckingham Palace, London

Click here to read “Prince Philip rumours go viral: U of T expert talks about centuries of royal gossip” at UofT news

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Canadian Press Interview: Remembering Prince Philip’s glamour and gaffes as he retires from public life

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip will retire from public life at the end of the summer. I discussed his decades of official engagements in Canada with Michelle McQuigge in the Canadian Press. In the 1950s, the Queen and Prince Philip were the royal couple poised to modernize the monarchy. As the decades passed, Prince Philip became known for his extensive philanthropic efforts – and occasional off the cuff remarks.

Click here to read Remembering Prince Philip’s glamour and gaffes as he retires from public life

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Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, now available in the USA and UK

My 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting is now available for purchase in hardcover in the USA and UK.

Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting is all about how royal parents dealt with raising their children over the past thousand years, from keeping Vikings at bay to fending off paparazzi.

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are setting trends for millions of parents around the world. The upbringing of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, is the focus of intense popular scrutiny. Royalty have always raised their children in the public eye and attracted praise or criticism according to parenting standards of their day.

Royal parents have faced unique challenges and held unique privileges. In medieval times, raising an heir often meant raising a rival, and monarchs sometimes faced their grown children on the battlefield. Conversely, kings and queens who lost their thrones in wars or popular revolutions often found solace in time spent with their children. In modern times, royal duties and overseas tours have often separated young princes and princesses from their parents, a circumstance that is slowly changing with the current generation of royalty.

Click here to purchase Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in the USA

Click here to purchase Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in the UK.

Click here to purchase Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting in Canada.

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Smithsonian Russian Revolution Series: May 1917: The Women Warriors of the Russian Revolution

Maria Bockareva, who issued a call to arms for Russian women in May 1917

The May article in my Russian Revolution series in Smithsonian Magazine examines the May Day celebrations in Russia on May 1, 1917 and the subsequent call to arms for Russian women to take up combat roles during the First World War. Advocates of women’s rights in Russia and around the world, including the British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst, paid close attention to the mobilization of women on the eastern front.

Click here to read “The Women Warriors of the Russian Revolution” in Smithsonian Magazine

Links to all of my Russian history articles in Smithsonian Magazine are available here.

Sources and Further Reading:

 The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars Nadezhda Durova is quoted at the beginning of the article. The experiences of Durova, a woman who served with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars influenced Russian popular culture during the years preceding the First World War.

The May Day celebrations in Saint Petersburg on May 1, 1917 are described in detail in Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport. The book also discusses Emmeline Pankhurst’s visit to Russia in the Spring on 1917.

Excerpts from the former Czar Nicholas II’s diaries, including his account of the May Day celebrations outside the Alexander Palace, where the Imperial family were under house arrest in 1917, are available to read in A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story.

Maria Bockareva, the soldier who formed The Women’s Battalion of Death in 1917, wrote a memoir about her experiences, which was reprinted in 2013 as Maria’s War: A Soldier’s Autobiography.

The newspaper account of Russian women disguising themselves as men to enlist in the war effort as early as 1914 is available to read in Conflict and Cooperation: Documents on Modern Global History, edited by Tracey J. Kinney.

Midwives of the Revolution: Female Bolsheviks and Women Workers in 1917 by Jane McDermid and Anna Hillyar provides further context for the mobilization of women in 1917 as well as the role of women in the Bolshevik party.

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