A Royal Audience with ‘King Henry VIII and Queen Katharine’, a rare chance to see the 500 year old Peterborough Book of Hours, and a talk by the broadcaster and historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb are just some of the exciting things happening during the 2017 Katharine of Aragon Festival, from 26th – 29th January at Peterborough Cathedral and Vivacity’s Peterborough Museum.
The popular annual festival marks the date in January 1536 when Henry VIII’s first wife Katharine of Aragon, who died in exile at Kimbolton Castle after almost 24 years of marriage, was buried at Peterborough Abbey (now the Cathedral).
A colourful procession of 300 schoolchildren led by Tudor musicians will start the Festival on Friday 27th, when they walk across Cathedral Square to the Cathedral to take part in a commemorative service at 10.30am. Representatives of the Spanish Embassy and other dignitaries will lay wreaths on Katharine’s tomb during the service.
On Friday evening Dr Lipscomb will give her talk in the Cathedral entitled ‘Character and Conscience: A Dynasty of Catholic Queens’, and on Saturday evening the historian Lauren Mackay, will look at Katharine through the eyes of her ambassadors and their many reports.
Children and families will have plenty to enjoy on Saturday and Sunday, when they can meet ‘King Henry and Queen Katharine’ in the Knights’ Chamber at the Cathedral as well as make some crafts to take home. At the Museum they will be able to find out about life in Tudor times, meeting the barber surgeon with his gruesome cures, learning 16th century manners with a Tudor lady and handling arms and armour with a Tudor soldier.
The Peterborough Book of Hours, an illuminated manuscript that is usually kept locked away to protect it from light damage, will be on display at the Museum as part of their Tremendous Tudors exhibition, which will also tell stories from Tudor Peterborough. There is also an exhibition about Katharine’s life at the Cathedral Visitor Centre, with a replica of one of her gowns as the centrepiece.
Special tours and Cathedral services led by the Choir are also part of the Festival. More details and ticket information is at www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk or www.vivacity-peterborough.com