Due to our Monsters of the Sea exhibition there is restricted access to some parts of the building and the Cloisters will be closed during this period.

Programme announced for 2023 Katharine of Aragon Festival

Wednesday 9 November

Peterborough Cathedral and Peterborough Museum have announced the programme for the 2023 Katharine of Aragon Festival.

The Tudor-themed festival commemorates the date in January 1536 when King Henry VIII’s first wife was buried at Peterborough Abbey. It will take place from 25th to 29th January 2023.

The weekend events include a host of costumed reenactors at family drop-in days, with Henry VIII and Queen Katharine with their courtiers in the Cathedral for At Court with the Tudors, and skilled everyday Tudor folk such as cooks and armourers at the Museum for At Home with the Tudors. The Festival also includes a moving wreath laying service at which Katharine’s last letter to her husband is read, and dignitaries lay tributes on her tomb.

The lecture this year is to be given online by Professor Theresa M Earenfight of Seattle University. She will share some of the themes of her new book, Catherine of Aragon, Infanta of Spain, Queen of England, looking at its subject through the clothing and shoes she wore, the books she commissioned and read, the paintings and objects of art that she owned.

Numerous guided Tudor tours, both of the Cathedral and the city, are on offer, including one for families led by ‘Old Scarlett the Tudor Gravedigger’.

There is a special Cathedral at Night open evening on Friday 27th January, from 6.30pm until 8.30pm, which is an opportunity to explore the Cathedral after hours, take photos and learn more about the history of Katharine’s time. Reenactors from Regal Rose Historical Portrayal will be there in the guise of key members of King Henry’s Court, and will chat to visitors about their ‘characters’ and their carefully researched period costumes. 

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

“The Katharine of Aragon Festival is one of the key events in the Cathedral calendar and her place in the story of Peterborough and the Cathedral is really significant. A remarkable woman, honoured but wronged in her lifetime, her faith, courage and forgiveness continues to inspire people today. The festival is a special time to reflect on her story and the times in which she lived. With such a variety of events for all ages I hope that many people will come along, have fun and find out about our city’s distinctive place in history.”

For some of the events there is no fixed charge so that people can come along and give what they are able to. More information about the Festival programme, and tickets where these are needed, can be found online at www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk.

Note: In Tudor times the spelling of names was much more varied than it is today. ‘Katharine’ is the spelling on the (19th century)  ironwork above the tomb in the Cathedral, so this is the spelling used for the Festival name. ‘Catarina’, ‘Catherine’ and ‘Katherine’ are also often used.

See our Katharine of Aragon Festival page for the full programme.

Photo: Katharine of Aragon reenactor from Regal Rose Historical Portrayal. Credit Paul Crane.

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