THE Duchess of Cornwall visited Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe today to celebrate the quincentenary of Katherine Parr.

The castle is the former home of Queen Katherine, the last wife of Henry VIII, and she is buried on site at St Mary’s Church.

The Duchess visited the castle in her role as patron of the Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary Festival, which marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of Katherine Parr.

She was welcomed to the castle by pupils from Winchcombe Abbey Primary School and met Lord and Lady Ashcombe, its current owners.

In the castle’s library, historian Dr David Starkey showed the Duchess some artefacts, including Katherine Parr’s prayer book and a love-letter she wrote to Thomas Seymour - her “true love” - which the Duchess described as “extraordinary”.

She was then taken through the 100 year door, which is believed to have been used by Katherine Parr herself, and shown around the Queen’s Garden.

Children from Winchcombe Primary School were also dressed in period costume and were playing in the gardens as the Duchess walked through.

The Duchess was then escorted to St Mary’s Church where she was shown a number of artworks due to be installed in the church and around the grounds and a short blessing was given by the Reverend John Partington following a visit to Katherine Parr’s tomb.

Jean Bray, castle archivist, said: "It's been a wonderful day. "Her visit recognises and enhances the castle's royal status. "It's been lovely to have the school children here; the castle is keen to work with the local community and is was privilege to have the children here."