From 10 April 2020, Historic Royal Palaces will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of The Field of Cloth of Gold – a spectacular festival that took place in 1520 near Calais as part of a summit between King Henry VIII of England and King François I of France.
The competing royal dynasties, along with thousands of courtiers, enjoyed a fortnight of feasts, tournaments, masquerades and religious services amid specially built and incredibly elaborate temporary palaces.
To celebrate the anniversary, a special exhibition will take place at the heart of Hampton Court Palace in the rooms built for Thomas Wolsey, who was Henry VIII’s chief minister, Cardinal to the Pope, and one of the principal organisers of The Field of Cloth of Gold. Visitors will be able to explore paintings that were commissioned at the end of Henry VIII’s reign to commemorate the event, as well as the surviving artworks, objects and documents from the event itself and from the rival courts of Tudor England and Valois France.
In addition, for nine days at the end of May, Hampton Court Palace will host the ‘rematch’ of the jousting, wrestling and foot combat competitions that took place. Jousts will be held three time a day and are not choreographed, so each day will see different outcomes, results and winners.
Visitors can choose their team to cheer on at the sporting contests, enter the village and encampments to sample the food, learn about the crafts needed to survive, and hear talks and presentations in the expert zone. The festival will be a visual spectacle with recreated tents, portable palaces, a wine fountain and kite flying across the fields of entertainments.
All activities are included with admission to Hampton Court Palace – pricing for Summer 2020 will be released in the Autumn. For more information for groups and travel trade please click here.