The Field of the Cloth of Gold

500 years ago this week marked the start of one of the most extraordinary diplomatic gatherings in history: The Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1520, England and France - traditionally bitter rivals - sought to bring conflict to an end in a magnificent show of opulence and pageantry. Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France agreed to meet in a show of conviviality, to reinforce the European-wide 'Universal Peace.' Of course, they didn't pack light. Both kings brought a hefty entourage of almost their entire political nations. My guest this week is Glenn Richardson, who took me to the heart of this rich tapestry of Renaissance diplomacy. He explained the spectacle of sporting competitions and flowing fountains of wine, the care taken to ensure rivalries would not erupt again, and the important role played by women in managing the rivals courts.

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