7 January 1536 – Catherine of Aragon dies at Kimbolton Castle

Posted By on January 7, 2016

Catherine of Aragon On 7th January 1536, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Henry VIII’s first wife, fifty year-old Catherine of Aragon, died at Kimbolton Castle, in Cambridgeshire, where she had been residing since April 1534.

Catherine had been battling ill-health for a few months but had started to go down hill at Christmas 1535. Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador and Catherine’s good friend, arrived at the dying Catherine’s bedside on 2nd January 1536. He visited with her every afternoon for two hours over four days and left for London on 6th January 1536, believing her to be on the mend. On 6th January Catherine’s oldest and dearest friend Maria de Salinas arrived at the castle. She was not supposed to be there, her visit having been forbidden by the king, but Maria had courageously ignored the king and put her friend first. You can read all about her visit, and just how she managed to get to see Catherine, in Kyra Kramer’s article “Maria de Salinas and Katherina of Aragon – The Depth and Breadth of Friendship” – click here to read that now.

By the night of 6th January, Catherine’s health had taken another turn for the worse and in the early hours of the 7th she asked to take communion. Jorge de Athequa, Catherine’s confessor and Bishop of Llandaff, administered communion and listened to her confession. Catherine then spent her last hours in prayer.

You can read more about her final days in my article The Death of Catherine of Aragon.

Catherine of Aragon was laid to rest on 29th January 1536 at Peterborough Abbey, now Peterborough Cathedral. She had requested in her will to be buried in a Chapel of her beloved order, The Observant Friars, but this was impossible, the recent dissolution of the monasteries meant that there were none left. She was buried as the Dowager Princess of Wales, the title she had always refused to accept, but her grave is now marked “Katharine Queen of England”. Peterborough Cathedral commemorate her death and burial, and celebrate her life on an annual basis with a special programme of events known as the “Katharine of Aragon Festival”. Here is the programme for this year’s festival:

  • Thursday 28th January – 5.30pm, Sung Eucharist in commemoration of Katharine of Aragon, with music from the Tudor period, sung by Peterborough Cathedral Choir.
  • Friday 29th January – 8.30am, Mass at Peterborough Cathedral.
  • Friday 29th January – 10.15am, Civic dignitaries and schoolchildren proceed from Peterborough Museum to the Cathedral, accompanied by the period musicians of Hautbois. 10.30am, Service of Commemoration at Peterborough Cathedral, during which wreaths will be laid on Katherine’s tomb. The service is followed by a Tudor history day for schools, in the Cathedral.
  • Friday 29th January – 2.00pm, Guided tour of Peterborough Cathedral.
  • Friday 29th January – 6.00pm, A Tudor-style Pottage and Ale Supper in the Becket Chapel, within the Cathedral Precincts.
  • Friday 29th January – 7.30pm, Festival Lecture: Dr Jonathan Foyle on “The Forgotten Origins of the Tudor Rose”.
  • Saturday 30th January – 10.00am–5.00pm: At Home with the Tudors at Peterborough Museum.
  • Saturday 30th January – 2pm Guided Tour of the Cathedral.
  • Saturday 30th January – 5.30pm, Choral Evensong at Peterborough Cathedral.
  • Sunday 31st January – 10.00am–5.00pm, At home with the Tudors at Peterborough Museum.
  • Sunday 31st January – 2.00pm, Tudor Peterborough Walk starting at Peterborough Museum.
  • Sunday 31st January – 3.30pm, Choral Evensong at Peterborough Cathedral.

See http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/katharine-2016.aspx for more details and to buy tickets.

Tudor Society members can read an article on the Tudor Society website “Catherine of Aragon’s Black Heart and Poison: The Primary Sources” – see https://www.tudorsociety.com/catherine-of-aragons-black-heart-and-poison-the-primary-sources-by-claire-ridgway/.

11 thoughts on “7 January 1536 – Catherine of Aragon dies at Kimbolton Castle”

  1. Christine says:

    Modern doctors have put forward the theory that Katherine died from cancer as there was a large black mass attached to her heart, if so she must have been in a lot of pain, also she was miserable being separated from her daughter and the total rejection by her husband who she had really loved since the day they had been married, the loss of her status as Queen and being forced to live in draughty castles all must have added to her depression, the one thing she held onto was her religion and it bought her comfort, the picture of her on her deathbed with her faithful servants around her and the priest is a very sad one, all deaths are sad but that such a good noble lady like that once much loved Queen of England should have suffered the way she did is extremely so, and it took four hundred years before another Queen consort acknowledged her rightful status and had a plaque put above her tomb saying, Katherine Queen Of England.

  2. Daniela says:

    An interesting article on Queen Katherine. A shame that she died as she did, far from her daughter, knowing her husband had stopped loving her a long time before. I wonder whether the King in his heart, felt some sadness on her death, after all they had been married for more than twenty years. What a wonderful series of events to remember her, I did not know about this festival. Xx

  3. Selina says:

    I pray she found peace in death.

  4. Diane Marie says:

    Yes, the king’s doctors, the king who was to protect her always, killed her by denying her his protection, and that of Catherine’s and his subjects. Henry VIII killed Catherine of Aragon as surely as if he had plunged a knife into her heart. I will ever believe that Henry VIII was the only black spot on Katherine’s heart.

  5. geoff wadsley says:

    Are there any living relatives of Katherine today

    1. Claire says:

      Catherine of Aragon only had one living child, Mary I, and she died childless so no living descendants but many of the European monarchs of today descend from Catherine’s parents, Ferdinand and Isabella. Wikipedia, which can’t always be trusted but in this case seems ok, has a good article on it – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descendants_of_Isabella_I_of_Castile_and_Ferdinand_II_of_Aragon.

      1. Anyanka says:

        Or did she??


        I came across some man who claimed he was a descendant of Anne and George Boleyn’s son who was born in 1538..

        I totes believed him…/sarcasm..

      2. bruno says:

        Yes and may I add that, if the portuguese line was soon to come to an end, that was not the case for the austrian one; Charles V’s brother especially, had numerous children and grand-children ? So, a lot of european royals have some DNA in common with this unlucky queen …
        I also believe that Katherine’s father, King Ferdinand of Aragon sired other natural children (by a spanish lady called Aldonza Ruiz – or Roig in catalan – y Ivorra, her own mother’s name . This young girl was then sent to a covent, so she did not play any role, queen Isable would not have born it ), one son and one daughter – the latter becoming a nun, I guess .
        But the son himself taking holy orders had some illegitimate progeny (de Aragon y Gurrea, or sth, but the name was to change some times, depending on the fact the mother let her own name to her children and heirs).
        I am pretty sure that a descendancy is still to be found nowadays from this queen Katherine’s half-brother

        1. bruno says:

          After some checkings, it rather seems, King Ferdinand had three illegitimate daus ; of them, two disappeared in a convent .
          The last, being full-blood sister of bishop Alfonso de Aragon-Ruiz de Ivorra was married to the duke of Frias, a widow, but their only daughter died witout leaving any issue herself.
          Alfonso sired among other children the mother-to-be of St Francis Borja y Aragon .
          Hoping it brings some light on queen Catherine’s relatives

  6. Susan says:

    Poor women didn’t deserve the pain and suffering she endured keeping her from Mary was so cruel !!

  7. Banditqueen says:

    Katherine was thinking of Henry, his soul, her daughter and her ladies at the end, she was so generous, she deserved to find peace. Rest in peace, sweet lady.

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