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Field of Cloth of Gold: 1520

During two and a half weeks, in June 1520, Francis I and Henry VIII meet regularly near Calais for diplomacy and entertainment. The event becomes known as the Field of Cloth of Gold because each court is housed in a sumptuous array of tents - the French at Ardres and the English at Guînes.

Henry's timber-and-canvas palace contains a great hall (reputed to be larger than the one at Whitehall), a chapel and a fountain in a courtyard with three separate spouts from which flow water, a spicy alcoholic concoction and wine. The meetings between the monarchs are interspersed with jousting and performances by mummers. No diplomatic alliance is achieved, but it is one of history's longest and most lavish parties.


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