A Spanish twist for celebration at Peterborough Cathedral

The service at the cathedral.
The service at the cathedral.
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The 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 at Peterborough Cathedral on January 25 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 January 25-28 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 January 26, 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 the 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 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 and spend time “At Home with the Tudors”, on Saturday and Sunday at Peterborough Museum.

On the Saturday evening the historian, Lauren Mackay, takes up the Boleyn theme with her talk on “The Rise and Fall of the Boleyn Men” at the John Clare Theatre. It is the first major “Peterborough Celebrates” event, marking the cathedral’s 900th anniversary year. See pages 22-25.