The ''Field of Cloth and Gold''

by Crusader1307

Seen by Historians as The ''Crowning Event of The Tudor Era'' – the aptly named ''Field of Cloth and Gold'' was a politically motivated ''spectacle'' orchestrated between long time Rivals and ''Ancient Enemies'' – England and France. In an attempt to cement The Peace of The Hundred Year War and The Anglo-French Treaty of 1514, England's King Henry VIII and France's King Francis I met at Balinghem (French Territory). The goal of the ''Monarch Summit'' was to establish a long lasting friendship'' between the two Countries. It actually had more complex goal.

 

England was not a specifically ''strong Nation'' yet. It was however, important as a ''Strategic Allie''. This fact was not lost on such Nations as Spain and in particular – The Holy Roman Empire (who was beginning to have ''issues'' with King Henry). England hoped that by ''lavishing'' France, King Francis would ''lend a hand'' with Rome – and help King Henry with His ''marital problem'' with Spain's Catherine of Aragon (of which Henry wished a divorce from).

 

While both King's tried to ''impress'' each other with ''fantastic feasts, musical and entertainments of all kinds'', it was Henry who nearly bankrupted The Royal Treasury. Much of the costuming worn (by Nobility) was made of ''Gold Cloth'' (actual garments using material made with gold and silver thread) – hence the fanciful name ''Field of Cloth and Gold''. When the Sun shown, it was said that the entire ''field, several hundred yards – literally ''glowed''.

 

Much like today;s Entertainment Venues, permanent structures were built, many with interiors of ''Golden Plate''. Gold featured so much – that it appeared ''all was the precious Metal''. Most Foreign Dignitaries looked upon the Event as a ''great waste'' and '' folly''. Still every County and Shire was required by The King to send a Representative. This included all Chivalric Orders – including The Knights of The Garter (which was one of the few times in History all would attend under ''penalty''.

 

It was estimated that King Henry employed over 4,000 Persons of various skills and crafts to be present. As many as 800 Horses were also brought in for The Tournaments (Jousting), that Henry was a Fan of (He even personally participated in several Bouts). Even both Monarchs (which both wished to Joust, but were forbidden for political reasons). They did wrestle each other (of which King Henry lost). This no doubt offended His ''athletic and competitive'' nature).

 

The Meeting lasted nearly 3 weeks. In the end, it did little politically. Later, England's Chancellor (Cardinal Charles Wolsey), would side with Emperor Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) against France. This would cause immense political damage between France and England.