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Royal Oak Foundation Lectures, Spring 2017

Royal Oak Foundation Lectures

The Oxford and Cambridge Society of New England is co-sponsoring the following Royal Oak Foundation Lectures, with Reception

Tickets:  $40 non-members, $30 for OCSNE (co-sponsor code will be sent by email) or Royal Oak Members

Purchase Tickets


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April 26th:

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Speaker: Sally Bedell Smith, Author

Location: Boston Athenaeum, 10 1/2 Beacon Street, 6:00pm

Drawing on her extensive access to the Royal Family’s inner circle, the New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith presents the first major biography of Prince Charles in more than two decades. In her illustrated lecture, Ms. Smith will give unprecedented insights into Prince Charles, a man who possesses a fiercely independent spirit, and yet has spent his life in waiting for the ultimate role of monarch. Beginning with his childhood, Smith will detail his intellectual quests, his entrepreneurial pursuits, and his love affairs—from the tragedy of his marriage to Diana to his eventual reunion with Camilla. She will also describe his relationship with the next generation of royals, including William, Katherine, Harry, and his beloved grandchildren. Ms. Smith captures a man who has been described as an 18th century gentleman with a 21st century mission—a life filled with contradictions and convictions. This is a lecture not just about a man who would be king, but also about the duties that come with privilege.





Sally Bedell Smith
is the author of bestselling biographies of Queen Elizabeth II; William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. She is the mother of three children and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Stephen G. Smith.

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May 11th

Benjamin Franklin in London: the British Life of America's Founding Father

Speaker: George Goodwin, Historian and Author

Location: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury Street, 6:00pm

For the vast majority of his life, Benjamin Franklin was not only a British royalist but an advocate of a Great British empire of North America. Having spent 18 formative months in England as a young man in the 1720s, he was so influenced by what he found during his time in London that, over the next three decades, he created many of America’s longstanding institutions based on what he witnessed there.  In 1757, he returned to London as a colonial representative and world-renowned scientist. He was still there in March 1775, just weeks before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, desperately trying to forestall the breach between Britain and the colonies.  Finally he was forced to leave, barely escaping arrest. In this talk, historian George Goodwin gives a colorful account of Franklin’s British years. It was a time when Franklin counted David Hume, Erasmus Darwin and West Wycombe Park’s notorious Francis Dashwood among his friends; and when he had access both to successive Prime Ministers and to those who influenced the King. Goodwin offers a revealing portrait of one of the most remarkable figures in U.S. history, effectively disputing the commonly held perception of Franklin as an outsider in British politics.


George Goodwin is an author, historian and Graduate of Cambridge University. He has written several highly-acclaimed books including Fatal Colours: Towton 1461- England's Most Brutal Battle on the reign of Henry VI and the 1st War of the Roses; and most recently Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America's Founding Father (2017 ). Mr. Goodwin is Honorary Author in Residence at Benjamin Franklin House in London, the only one of Franklin's many homes on both sides of the Atlantic that still survives today and is now a Museum and education center.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Royal Society of Arts. He is also a 2017 International Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello. Mr. Goodwin is a regular media contributor on British and transatlantic history.