Tudor pageant to greet return of Elizabeth I to Cambridge

Tudor Monarch Elizabeth I will be in Cambridge. Picture: Antonella Muscat

Tudor Monarch Elizabeth I will be in Cambridge. Picture: Antonella Muscat - Credit: Archant

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of her only visit to Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth I will return to the city on Saturday, September 13.

The Queen will greet her public and process with her royal retinue through the streets accompanied by music, drama and spectacle in a colourful Tudor extravaganza.

The Elizabethan pageant is a free, family-friendly event centred around historic Great St Mary’s Church, which the Queen visited in 1564.

Members of the public who join the royal procession during the afternoon will be treated to entertainment in St John’s College and King’s College Chapel.

The 30-year-old Queen arrived in Cambridge on horseback on August 5, 1564, dressed in ‘a gown of black velvet and a hat that was spangled with gold, with a bush of feathers.’ Contemporary accounts say that Elizabeth greatly enjoyed her visit, and apparently would have stayed longer ‘if provision of beer and ale could have been made.’


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To get themselves in the Tudor mood before the Queen’s visit, families can take part in free Tudor craft activities at Great St Mary’s on Friday, August 29, and Saturday, September 6.

There will also be a concert of Elizabethan music celebrating summer and the harvest on the evening of September 6, with tickets on sale from Great St Mary’s or the ADC Theatre.

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On the day of the Queen’s visit, visitors can enjoy Tudor music, food and craft activities and a Tudor market in Great St Mary’s church yard in the morning.

At 1.30pm the Virgin Queen will arrive and invite her loyal subjects to join the parade of time-travelling Elizabethans as they walk through the centre of Cambridge. The royal procession will visit historic colleges and enjoy music, dance and the day will end with a special evensong in King’s College Chapel.

The whole pageant is free and has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is one of the highlights of this year’s Open Cambridge, a special weekend in September when Cambridge unlocks its secrets and welcomes you through the doors of some of its most beautiful and intriguing places.

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