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Katharine of Aragon Festival 2018

25 Jan - 28 Jan


Peterborough Cathedral



Peterborough Cathedral and Vivacity Peterborough’s annual festival commemorating the city’s connection with Katharine of Aragon, the Spanish princess who became Henry VIII’s first queen, will be joined by Spanish musicians and dancers in 2018.

Their performance on Thursday 25th January is entitled “Spain pays Homage to Katharine of Aragon”. It will use Spanish music, dance and literature to create a bridge between English and Spanish cultures.

The Festival runs from 25th to 28th January and marks the anniversary of Katharine of Aragon’s burial at Peterborough Abbey in January 1536, following her death in exile at Kimbolton Castle. There is a commemoration service at the Cathedral (formerly Peterborough Abbey) at 10.30am on Friday 26th January, when dignitaries will lay wreaths on Katharine’s tomb. Schoolchildren also take part in the service and many of them stay for a Tudor living history day in the Cathedral.

The bestselling novelist and historian, Alison Weir, is to give a talk at the Cathedral on Friday evening. Her talk is about Anne Boleyn, Katharine’s former lady in waiting who became her rival for the King’s affection. There is a Pottage and Ale supper beforehand, with re-enactors as Katharine (see photo) and her ladies, in the Knights’ Chamber at the Cathedral.

A schedule of Tudor tours of the city and cathedral, including new family friendly cathedral tours led by “Old Scarlett” the 16th century gravedigger, take place during the weekend. Vivacity is also offering its popular drop-in family activities, “At Home with the Tudors”, on Saturday and Sunday at Peterborough Museum.

On Saturday evening the historian, Lauren Mackay, takes up the Boleyn theme with her talk on “The Rise and Fall of the Boleyn Men”. This takes place at the John Clare Theatre at Peterborough Central Library.

All in all, the Katharine of Aragon Festival is a must for Tudor history enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in the UK’s Spanish connections. It is the first major “Peterborough Celebrates” event, marking the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary year.

Click here to see the Festival’s programme.


Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE1 1XS
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