On the 29th January 1536, Catherine of Aragon was buried in Peterborough Abbey, now known as Peterborough Cathedral. In her last days she had requested to be buried in a Chapel of her beloved order, The Observant Friars, but the recent dissolution of the monasteries meant that there were none left.
This strong woman who had refused to recognise the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII and who still saw herself as Queen of England was buried at Peterborough as Princess Dowager, referring to her marriage to Prince Arthur, the Prince of Wales, and the Bishop of Rochester even said in his sermon at her funeral that “in the hour of death she acknowledged she had not been Queen of England”! Henry VIII was using his first wife’s funeral as propaganda and I don’t blame the imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, who comforted Catherine in her last days, for not attending and choosing to remember her in his own way.
Catherine of Aragon’s tomb can still be visited today and Peterborough Cathedral have marked her tomb with the words “Katharine Queen of England”. The Cathedral also commemorate her life and death by holding a special programme of events every year at the end of January – The Katharine of Aragon Festival – and I think it is a fitting tribute to this wonderful woman. RIP Queen Catherine of Aragon.
You can read more about Catherine of Aragon’s last days and death in my article “The Death of Catherine of Aragon”