During the early years of Henry VIII’s reign, England and France were keen to demonstrate their unity in order to counter the threat of the powerful Habsburg Empire. Which unusual way did they do this in 1520?

Answer: A royal ceremony called the Field of the Cloth of Gold was organised. Held in France, the entire British ruling class, all 5000 of them, were shipped across the channel for the elaborate event, which included wine flowing from red and white fountains, days of music and luxury costumes. Henry and the French King, Francois, even engaged in a half naked wrestling match.

Source: A History of Britain by Simon Schama

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