All you need to know about Peterborough's Katharine of Aragon Festival

Katharine's tomb in Peterborough Cathedral.Katharine's tomb in Peterborough Cathedral.
Katharine's tomb in Peterborough Cathedral.
Costumed re-enactments, a wreath-laying service, tours and a lecture provide the highlights of the 2023 Katharine of Aragon Festival announced today.

The Tudor-themed festival commemorates the date in January 1536 when King Henry VIII’s first wife was buried at

Peterborough Abbey – now Peterborough Cathedral. It will take place from January 25 to 29.

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The weekend events, which centre around the Cathedral and Peterborough Museum in Priestgate, 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.

At the tomb of Katharine of Aragon  at Peterborough Cathedral.At the tomb of Katharine of Aragon  at Peterborough Cathedral.
At the tomb of Katharine of Aragon at Peterborough Cathedral.

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.

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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’.

Guest lecturer Theresa EarenfightGuest lecturer Theresa Earenfight
Guest lecturer Theresa Earenfight

There is a special Cathedral at Night open evening on Friday, January 27, 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 who their ‘character’ is and their carefully researched period costumes. There will also be a little sixteenth century music, courtesy of Jay Britton of 'The Tudor Songbook'.

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

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woman, honoured but wronged in her lifetime, her faith, courage and forgiveness continues to inspire people today.

Old Scarlett will be at the Katharine of Aragon Festival once moreOld Scarlett will be at the Katharine of Aragon Festival once more
Old Scarlett will be at the Katharine of Aragon Festival once more

"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

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•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.