Carolyn Harris at Word on the Street Halifax

Carolyn Harris at Word on the Street Halifax

Posted on September 25 by Carolyn Harris in Events, Non-fiction
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From September 14 to September 17, I traveled around Nova Scotia, talking about my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting. The book examines how 20 sets of royal parents from medieval times to modern times raises their children, from fending off Viking attacks to fending off paparazzi. Thank you to Dundurn Press and the Ontario Media and Development Corporation for their support for my Nova Scotia book tour.

The first stop was The Box of Delights Bookshop in Wolfville, where I gave a reading about how William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their parenting scrutinized by the public from the day their first child, Prince George, left hospital. I discussed how a single moment of royal parenting – Prince William fastening Prince George into his car seat before driving his family home from the hospital – prompted a years long public debate about the royal couple’s parenting and public image of the monarchy. I also talked about the longer history of public interest in royal parenting from medieval chroniclers who thought they recognized omens and portents in the childhoods of future kings and queens to modern social media and the 24-hour news cycle, which allow for a global conversation about royal parents raise their children.

On Friday September 15, I gave a lecture at the University of King’s College in Halifax about two of the most controversial queens in European history: Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England and Scotland during the English Civil Wars and Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France during the French Revolution. Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette received public scrutiny as wives and mothers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries respectively and faced formal judicial proceedings. Henrietta Maria fled to France in 1644 after she was impeached as queen by England’s House of Commons in 1643 and Marie Antoinette was placed on trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal and guillotined in 1793.  All three of my books were for sale at the event and there were great questions from the students and faculty in the Foundation Year Program and Early Modern Studies Program at the University of King’s College.

At the Halifax Word on the Street Festival at the Halifax Central Library, I gave a presentation about the best and worst of the past thousand years of royal parenting from medieval royal fathers such as William the Conqueror and Henry II who went to war with their sons to the modern royal family where four generations: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George enjoy a comparatively harmonious relationship with each other. After the talk, there were questions and discussion about royalty and history from the audience including whether Marie Antoinette ever said “Let Them Eat Cake” (No!) to the contributions of United Empire Loyalists to Canadian history during the reign of King George III.  I enjoyed meeting other authors and festival attendees at the reception and book signing at the festival.

In between lectures, readings and signings, I visited a winery in the Annapolis Valley, received a tour of Province House (the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia) and went for scenic walks through the Halifax Public Gardens and along the waterfront. I look forward to returning to Nova Scotia!