Peterborough Katharine of Aragon Festival

Where: Peterborough, Cambs at the Cathedral
When: 29th January or near date (often a Friday)
Time: 10.30 Commemoration Service



Katherine of Aragon

Katharine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Cathedral following her death at Kimbolton Castle in 1536; she was Henry VIIIs first wife and the daughter of the Catholic Kings of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella. She had previously been married to Henry’s elder brother Arthur who died young, and Henry used this (after they had been married for over 20 years) as an excuse to divorce her, declaring their union was invalid, and marry Anne Boleyn, starting the Reformation of the church in England. An annual festival is held at the Cathedral in Katharine’s memory during late January, with special services, wreath-laying and a Roman Catholic Mass, as well as living history events. The commemorative service is usually held on a schoolday so that local pupils can take part, and during the service pupils and dignitaries lay flowers, anthems are sung and a re-enactor takes on the role of the Queen to read her poignant last letter to Henry.

Helpful Hints

In 2018  the festival runs from 26th – 28th January with the Commemoration Service on Friday 26th.

If you’re wondering what the mysterious fruit is on the photos near the flowers, it’s a pomegranate: Katharine used it as one of her heraldic emblems. For some time Katharine was one of two Queens buried at Peterborough – Mary Queen of Scots was interred here after her execution at Fotheringhay, but Mary’s son had her reburied at Westminter Abbey when he took the throne as King James I. Now Katharine reigns supreme at Peterborough.

Click here for the event website and select Katherine of Aragon from the drop-down Special Services list :

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