Peterborough Cathedral & Peterborough Museum join forces for this year’s Katharine of Aragon Festival
January 24, 2024
Peterborough’s annual Katharine of Aragon Festival commemorates the 29 January 1536, when Henry VIII’s first wife was buried at Peterborough Cathedral after her death in exile at Kimbolton Castle. She lies in the Cathedral to this day. This year the Cathedral joins forces with Peterborough Museum to deliver an exciting itinerary of events to celebrate and reflect on the tumultuous but remarkable life of this extraordinary woman.
The festival kicks off on Thursday 25 January with a Tudor tour and an online talk by renowned Tudor historian Dr Owen Emmerson. The talk titled, ‘Katharine and Anne: Rivalry and Unity’, will bring new perspectives to the precarious relationship between the first two Queens Consorts of King Henry VIII. It will explore the complex connections between these two remarkable women, delving into their well-documented differences but also their unexpected similarities.
On Friday 26 January, Peterborough Museum will offer exciting Tudor tours of the city centre, while the Cathedral holds a formal commemoration service at 1100 following Roman Catholic Mass. The Very Revd Christopher Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, will lead a short service of commemoration with readings and prayers. During the service wreaths and pomegranates will be laid on Katharine’s tomb by school pupils and visiting dignitaries. All are warmly welcomed to join the service. Other events on this day include Son et Lumiere, a candlelit tour of the Cathedral focusing on the key events in the city’s history with light and sound effects, as well as Vespers at 5.30pm and Compline at 9pm, both traditional choral services familiar in Tudor times.
The weekend will be full of exciting events for all the family across both sites. Why not hop over to the Museum for a taste of real Tudor life with At Home with the Tudors, then head over to the Cathedral to meet all of King Henry’s Court in full costume! On Saturday evening hear historian and author, Dr Onyeka Nubia at Peterborough Museum as he explores how Katharine’s Iberian/English heritage and culture transformed England forever. A book signing will follow this talk.
Monday 29 January marks the 488th anniversary of the burial of Katharine of Aragon at Peterborough Cathedral. Katharine was a strong advocate of education and in honour of this, the Cathedral will be welcoming school children from across the city for a day of fun, learning and activities. NB. Photography will not be allowed on this day.
Full details of all events can be found at Katharine of Aragon Festival – Peterborough Cathedral (peterborough-cathedral.org.uk) and Katharine of Aragon Festival 2023 – Museum & Art Gallery (peterboroughmuseum.org.uk)