Katharine of Aragon Festival

29 January 2021

The Katharine of Aragon Festival commemorates 29th January 1536, when Henry VIII's first wife was buried at Peterborough Cathedral after her death in exile at Kimbolton Castle. She lies here to this day.

Due to the current Covid restrictions the Festival is shorter and fully online this year. Nonetheless there is something of interest for all ages, whether you are a knowledgable Tudor enthusiast, simply want to pay your respects, or are encouraging younger members of your family to learn about Katharine of Aragon for the first time. We hope you enjoy it. 


Meet 'Old Scarlett' 

Online video activities for families, during January

Join our Tudor gravedigger 'Old Scarlett' as he tells you about his job in Peterborough in the 16th century, and shows you Katharine of Aragon's tomb.

Could you make a pomegranate fit for a queen?

Katharine of Aragon's flagThe pomegranate was Katharine of Aragon's special symbol.

Find out how you could make one at home, then post your creations on social media using #pom21.

If you show us a picture of your pomegrante by 9.0am on Monday 1st February 2021, you could win a prize!

Find out more and watch the video here: Make a pomegranate

Wreath Laying Ceremony and Prayers (pre-recorded)Service at Katharine's tomb

9.30am, Friday 29th January 2021

The Dean of Peterborough, Chris Dalliston, will lead this dignified ceremony of prayers at Katharine of Aragon's tomb, where tributes will be laid. 

There will be a reading from the bible in Katharine's native Spanish, and her last letter to Henry will be read.

You can see the service on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/2lCtXrssGtk 

You can download the Order of Service here: Wreath Laying Order

Vespers (pre-recorded)

Vespers being sung

5.30pm, Friday 29th January 2021

A service with music from the sixteenth century, in a form that would have been familiar to Katharine of Aragon and sung by members of Peterborough Cathedral Choir.

You can see the service on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/3Cvjbdo4wEY

You can download the Order of Service here: Vespers Order

The Spanish Queen: Katharine of Aragon and her Continental Family

7.30pm on Friday 29th January 2021 - SOLD OUT
4.00pm on Saturday 30th January 2021 - SOLD OUT

Sarah Gristwood

An online talk (via Zoom) by Sarah Gristwood, author of 'Game of Queens'.

Sarah will explore the pressures and powers at work in Katharine’s family. These pressures came not just through her mother Isabella of Castille but also in the light of the times in which she lived, where large parts of Europe were under a reigning queen or female regent. Sarah’s talk will examine how Katharine’s fierce loyalty to Spain during her early years in England changed during her marriage to Henry into a strong allegiance to the English cause, switching back after the annulment to renew old loyalties to her powerful European relatives.

Approx. 45-50 mins, including questions. 

Sarah Gristwood is a journalist, biographer, historian and novelist. Her work has been published in most of the UK’s leading newspapers. Amongst the numerous books she has published are two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arabella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester. Sarah is in demand as a media commentator on royal and historical affairs and has contributed to a number of TV documentaries on cinema and fashion, as well as history and the monarchy.

Cover of Game of Queens by Sarah Gristwood


£5 per viewing. Pre-booking is essential via:

Friday 29 January, 7.30pm: SOLD OUT

Saturday 30 January, 4.00pm: SOLD OUT

The email confirming your booking will tell you how you can submit a question during the talk. A selection of the questions will be answered, time permitting.

A Zoom link to the talk will be sent to ticket holders just before the event.

Please note Information for Ticket Purchasers.


Read Katharine of Aragon's story here.

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