1669: Pepys has birthday, hugs and kisses a mummy

On February 23rd 1669, Samuel Pepys marks his 36th birthday by taking a stroll through Westminster Abbey with his wife and some young female relatives. In the abbey Pepys is granted a special viewing of the exposed mummy of Catherine of Valois, the wife of Henry V, who died in 1437:

“I now took them to Westminster Abbey, and there did show them all the tombs very finely… and here we did see, by particular favour, the body of Queen Katherine of Valois…”

To celebrate his birthday, Pepys gives the long-dead queen a hug and kiss:

“I had the upper part of her body in my hands, and I did kiss her mouth… this was my birth-day, 36 years old [and the day] I did first kiss a Queen.”

Source: The diary of Samuel Pepys, February 23rd 1669. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.