Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary
”Scandal, sadness, treason and tragedy”
Katherine Parr was Henry VIII’s last queen, lived at Sudeley and is buried in St Mary’s Church within the gardens. She is the only English Queen to be buried in a private residence.
This year is the 500th anniversary of Katherine Parr’s birth and we are celebrating the life of this extraordinary queen with a season-long festival of events. Highlights include talks from renowned historian Dr David Starkey, Michael Hirst –creator of the hit TV series the Tudors and author Alison Weir.
Katherine came to Sudeley for love and a future full of happiness with her first love, Thomas Seymour, after a lifetime of duty to the King. It was not to be. Within weeks of Henry’s death, she married Thomas Seymour - described by David Starkey as ‘The Stud of the Tudor times’ - in secret and she and her court move to his castle in Winchcombe. Katherine’s dream marriage began to quickly unravel. She had moved Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) out of her household because of Seymour’s inappropriate advances to her. Katherine fell pregnant in 1548 and gave birth to a daughter, Mary, only to contract puerperal fever and die 6 days later at the age of 36.
The full story of scandal, sadness, treason and tragedy is told in a film presented by Dr. David Starkey, part of our new Katherine Parr exhibition. The festival culminates in the re-enactment of Katherine’s funeral service, the first Protestant funeral ever held. Dr Starkey will provide a live commentary to explain the significance of the ceremony.
“Katherine Parr was seen in the past as the most insignificant of Henry’s wives, the colourless one,” says Dr. Starkey. “But as we learn more about her, that view is changing. She was a queen with a mission. She may well be one of the most important of Henry’s queens.”
Come and find out for yourself.
We are open daily until October 28th (closed May 26th). Click here for a full list of Katherine Parr Quincentenary Festival events.