Hampton Court Palace – the backdrop to the birth of the Church of England – is to host its first Roman Catholic service since the Reformation.
The historic vespers service is being hailed as a symbolic milestone in reconciliation between the two churches.
The Palace was built by Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, but the king took it over following the cardinal’s fall in 1529.
Next month’s service will take place in the Chapel Royal, where Henry VIII worshipped. When married to Catherine of Aragon he worshipped as a Catholic.
His wish to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn led to the schism in the church and the founding of the Church of England, and he would have then worshipped in the chapel as an Anglican.
The service on 9 February will be led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England, with the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres. John Studzinski, of the Genesis Foundation, which helped to organise the service said: “Dialogue between faiths is much needed and welcomed in these turbulent times.”