The historic meeting of Henry VIII and King Francis I of France would cost £15m if it was held today.
Next month sees the 500th anniversary of the ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’, the lavish and expensive meeting held between King Henry VIII and King Francis I of France from 7th-24th June 1520 at Balinghem (between Ardes and Guines near Calais).
Prof Glenn Richardson, Professor of Early Modern History at St Mary’s University in Twickenham whose highly regarded book Field of the Cloth of Gold was published in 2013 is taking part in the first of a number of Virtual talks and lectures to celebrate and speak about the event.
The first talk takes place on *May 9th/10th and further lectures run through to October and include two virtual events at Hampton Court Palace on June 29th and the 30th where a famous painting of ‘the Field of the Cloth of Gold’ is on display dating from the 1540’s.
Professor Richardson has also been analysing the modern equivalent cost of the event in 2020 and reviewing the significant numbers of people who attended the two-week meeting, where they stayed and what they ate and drank.
He has concluded that the cost today would be in the region of £15m.
Professor Richardson has reviewed the historical sources and revealed that around 60,000 yards of canvas were used for the English and French tents with 72,544 gold fleur-de-lis added to the decorative blue velvet used at the event.
Over 10,000 people attended the meeting with over 6,000 horses. The English contingent consumed over 29,000 items of fish, including a Dolphin, 98,000 eggs, 6,475 birds and over 1 million planks of wood were used to heat the ovens that prepared the food.
Professor Richardson said “The making of the Field of the Cloth of Gold represented the largest example of Anglo-French co-operation enterprise until the building of the Concorde in the 1960’s and the then the Channel Tunnel.
“Despite Henry losing a famous wrestling match, the event achieved a great deal in securing Anglo-French relations in the longer term, even if the two Kings were again at war within two years.”
Professor Glenn Richardson’s Book ‘The Field of the Cloth of Gold’ is being published in paperback and is available from Yale University Press.