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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 seems she was moved from this first tomb to the present Purbeck marble altar tomb, with remains of the original Cosmati (mosaic) work decoration on the tomb slab. 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). The tomb was therefore moved to the south ambulatory between the chapels of St Edmund and St Benedict. It was commissioned in 1273 to take the 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 were later buried in the same tomb - John (died 1271), Henry (died 1274), Alphonso (died 1284), Berengaria and Joan.

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
Princess Katherine tomb

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

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Martin - The Dean’s Verger

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