Interview with Nathan Tidridge, author of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Interview with Nathan Tidridge, author of Prince  Edward, Duke of Kent thumbnail

Interview with Nathan Tidridge, author of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Posted on July 18 by Nathan Tidridge
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Today on the blog we have an interview with Nathan Tidridge, author of the new release Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Nathan teaches Canadian history and government and was awarded the Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence (Teacher of the Year) in 2008. In 2011, he received the Charles Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching from Queen’s University. Nathan was one of six Ontarians in 2012 presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Nathan lives in Carlisle, Ontario, with his wife Christine and daughters.

Caitlyn: Tell us about your book.



Nathan: The story of Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (1767–1820) is also a story of early Canada.

An active participant in the very genesis of the country, including discussions that would eventually lead to Confederation, the Prince lived in Quebec City, undertook historic tours of Upper Canada and the United States (both firsts for a member of the Royal Family) before he was stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as commander-in-chief of British North America.

Canada’s maps are dotted with his name (Prince Edward Island the most obvious example), making him one of the most honoured among our forgotten historical figures. Exiled from the court of his father, and accompanied by his long-time mistress Julie de St. Laurent, the 24-year-old Prince Edward Augustus arrived in Quebec City in 1791. Over the ensuing nine years of residency in British North America, his life became woven into the fabric of a highly-charged society, leaving an indelible mark on the role of the monarchy in Canada. Seventy years later, the country would be united under the crown of his daughter, Victoria — Sir John A. Macdonald’s “Queen of Canada.”

With a foreword by His Honour Brigadier-General The Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS, CD, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent: Father of the Canadian Crown restores Prince Edward Augustus to his rightful place in Canadian history.

I am very proud that the work of iconic Toronto artist Charles Pachter OC is featured on the cover of the book, linking it to my previous work on the Canadian Crown (Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy, Dundurn Press, 2011).

I maintain an educational website (www.canadiancrown.com) that has all kinds of resources related the Canadian Crown and Prince Edward which includes materials for teachers.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the idea for this work?



Nathan: Credit goes to royal historian Arthur Bousfield for introducing me to Prince Edward while I was writing Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy. It was Arthur that told me Edward was one of Canada’s forgotten historical figures, and the more I looked into his life the more I realized this was true. Dundurn’s Royal Tours 1786-2010: Home to Canada (co-authored by Arthur Bousfield and Garry Toffoli) was a great source of information on Edward in Canada.

Overall, there is a lot of misinformation out there about Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, so this book is a chance to get it right and help restore him to the Canada’s historical record.

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

Nathan: The main theme of the book is that this is a Canadian story. Often times I find that the Royal Family is addressed as simply British, but it is important to note that they are Canadian too! The Canadian Crown is a distinct and relevant institution that has been developing on this continent since well before it was officially acknowledged with the 1931 Statute of Westminster. The monarchy is not a foreign institution to Canada, rather it has been with us since European settlement began. In Edward’s case, he lived in this country for the better part of a very important decade in the development of the Canadian state. Prince Edward Island, the cradle of Confederation, is even named after him! We need to start embracing our rich history – Canada makes much more sense when we do.

Reflecting the unifying role that Prince Edward played in 18th century Canada, the 21st century Canadian Crown has really embraced this project. The lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia graciously penned the foreword, and I have just been informed that the lieutenant governor of Prince Edward Island will be hosting a celebration and lecture based on the book this summer. A print of Charles Pachter’s piece reproduced on the book’s cover now hangs in the Vice-Regal Suite of the lieutenant governor of Ontario.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?



Nathan: Research is my favourite part of any writing process. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent: Father of the Canadian Crown put me in touch with a great community of people including the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, and the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax. The book The Prince and His Lady: The Love Story of the Duke of Kent and Madame de St Laurent by legendary author and historian Mollie Gillen was always close at hand – her meticulous research was an inspiration to me. Another great find was the Jean Donald Gow Fonds at the Nova Scotia Archives. The Loyalist Collection at the University of New Brunswick was a treasure trove – the staff there were so helpful.

I have posted all of the resources (books, articles, pamphlets, videos, etc) I found on my website at www.canadiancrown.com.

Caitlyn: What are you reading right now?

Nathan: As a rule, I read everything that Dr. Chris McCreery (prolific Dundurn author) writes – currently I am enjoying his latest work The Order of Military Merit (published by the Department of National Defense). I am really looking forward to reading Dundurn’s The Crown and Canadian Federalism by Dr. D. Michael Jackson when it is released this summer.

I just returned from a school trip (I am a history teacher at Waterdown District High School) to the Russian Federation, visiting both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Since then I have been engrossed in Edward Rutherfurd’s epic Russka: The Novel of Russia.

On an earlier trip in 2011my students became the first Canadians EVER to visit the Russian city and oblast of Kaliningrad (a great source of pride for us).

Incidentally, as we visited the tomb of the last Russian Royal Family (the Romanovs) in Saint Petersburg I realized that Czarina Alexandra was Prince Edward’s great-granddaughter.

Nathan Tidridge

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Nathan Tidridge photo

Nathan Tidridge

Nathan Tidridge was presented the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Prince of Wales in 2012. A high-school history teacher, he won the Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence (Teacher of the Year, 2008). Nathan is the author of Beyond Mainland, Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy, and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. He lives in Waterdown, Ontario.