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Katherine Daughter of Henry III

Princess Katherine, daughter of King Henry III and his queen Eleanor of Provence, is buried in Westminster Abbey. She was born at Westminster Palace on 25th November 1253 and died at Windsor Castle on 3rd May 1257. Her parents were grief stricken at her death and erected a tomb for her in the Abbey with two images in gilt bronze and silver (one was probably of St Catherine).

It would seem she was moved from this first tomb to the present Purbeck marble altar tomb now in the south ambulatory, between the chapels of St Edmund and St Benedict. This has remains of the original Cosmati (mosaic) work decoration on the tomb slab but no inscription. This tomb was at one time in St Edward the Confessor's chapel but was displaced when the tomb of Anne of Bohemia was erected there (she died 1394).  It is thought to contain the small coffins of Katherine and her three young brothers Richard born about 1247, John born about 1250, both of whom died before 1256, and Henry died 1274 (the tomb was opened to add his coffin). The back of the arch recess was originally painted with four kneeling figures.

Five young children of Edward I are presumed to be buried in the same tomb - infant Joan, John (died 1271), Berengaria (died about 1279), Henry (died 1274) and Alphonso (died 1284).

Katherine's brother succeeded as King Edward I. He and another brother, Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, are buried in the Abbey.

Further reading

"Tombs of royal babies in Westminster Abbey" by Joan Tanner, Journal of the British Archaeological Association vol.XVI, 1953

Born

25th November 1253

Died

3rd May 1257

Location

South Amulatory

Memorial Type

Tomb

Material Type

Marble

Katherine Daughter of Henry III
Tomb of Princess Katherine

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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