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King’s marks 550th anniversary of the death of the College’s Founder

This year, the College will mark the anniversary of Henry VI’s death with a special Requiem in the Chapel on 21 May.

This year, the College will mark the anniversary of Henry VI’s death with a special Requiem in the Chapel on 21 May.

Normally the anniversary is commemorated with a service in the Chapel and a ceremony in the Tower of London, where Henry died in 1471. Roses and lilies representing King’s and Eton College, the two royal colleges founded by Henry, are placed on the site in the Wakefield Tower where he was killed. But current restrictions mean that this year they will be laid on the King’s Chapel altar during a sung Requiem service, followed later in the evening by a Compline service dedicated to his memory.

The impact of Henry VI’s legacy on King’s has been huge - without its royal Founder the College would not have the Chapel, or such a prime location in Cambridge," said Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s.  "He established us as an ‘intellectual community of unusual constitution’, which continues to this day - we have always given radical thinkers and curious minds the opportunity to excel - and Henry’s tradition of philanthropy lives on in the current King’s Campaign and the incredible support we receive from our alumni and friends.

Since it was launched in 2018 the King’s Campaign has raised more than £74 million to attract and support the best students from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds, deliver world-class academic teaching and research and protect and enhance the College’s unique heritage. 

King’s Archivist Patricia McGuire can be heard talking about Henry VI and his legacy in this recent presentation.

2021 will also see the 600th anniversary of Henry’s birth, in 1421. The anniversary will be commemorated at the College Founder’s Day on 6 December.

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