Sudeley Castle is close enough that we’ve visited about once a month since we moved here. There’s a great kids’ play area, a cafe in a huge hall, beautiful gardens and views, tons of history, peacocks, pheasants, and the inevitable gift shop. I’ve been trying to put together a single post about Sudeley, but I’ve given up — it’s a moving target. Instead here’s the first in what will be a desultory and unhurried set of Sudeley Castle snapshots. And what better place to start — especially now that we’ve ended our Jubilee week — than with a Queen?
Katherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII, is buried at Sudeley in the Chapel of St. Mary.
The Chapel is surrounded by white roses and other white flowers, for the ‘white queen’.
The nearby Queen’s garden continues the theme of white flowers.
The location is beautiful and serene — if you ignore the bloody history that runs through this whole area — War of the Roses, Civil War — smell the flowers and don’t think about it for now.
This window shows Elizabeth I in the center and Edward VI to the right — Katherine Parr’s stepchildren, of whom she was reportedly very fond and took good care. Elizabeth lived at Sudeley with Katherine for a time after Henry VIII’s death. Err, I forget who the other guy is. My bad.
Katherine died shortly after the birth of a daughter (she had married Thomas Seymore after the death of Henry VIII. Quel Scandal!) Her coffin was discovered by a farmer a few hundred years later, and apparently it became some kind of idiot’s game to open up her coffin and check out her corpse. Morons.
Wall plaque describing the Queen. The Chapel dates to the 15th century, but it was rebuilt in the early 19th century in order to give Queen Katherine a decent resting place without any more coffin-tipping morons to disturb her.
But … wait for it …
Oh my SUGAR, what the double sticks is this? My kids were freaked the freak out by this recreation of the death bed of Katherine Parr. Those figures in the background are movie projections — they fidget and mumble — the whole thing is truly strange, and therefore cool, and I salute Sudeley Castle for making learning terrifying and memorable.
If that hasn’t scarred you enough, inside the castle is another in-your-face moment with the Queen.
The 500th anniversary of Katherine’s birth is this year, and Sudeley Castle is hosting a variety of events in honor of that event. Check it out — and put Sudeley on your list when you visit the Cotswolds.