Friday Lunchtime Lectures

King Henry VIII and the Field of Cloth of Gold

Karen Watts

Friday 6 August & Friday 27 August

The Field of Cloth of Gold was a tournament at which more than 150 French and English courtiers including Henry VIII, King of England and Francis I, King of France, jousted, tourneyed and fought on foot.

It took place over two weeks in June 1520. The palaces, pavilions of cloth of gold and the tournament lists (arenas) were erected especially for the event and removed afterwards. Even today it is a byword for chivalry and extravagance.

We know exactly what Henry’s physique was in 1520. He was 29 years old, 188 cms (6ft 2 ins) and very athletic. Astonishingly, two of his suits of armour for the Field of Cloth of Gold have survived. They bring Henry VIII back to life better than any portrait.


Tickets can be purchased on the day or booked in advance

Tel: 0113 220 1866
Tickets: £3.50 per person
Time: 1.00pm – 1.45pm

Karen Watts is Senior Curator of Armour and Art at the Royal Armouries. Her main areas of interest are medieval and renaissance armour, and tournaments and chivalry. She has also researched and published on medieval and modern French military history and Orders of Chivalry. Karen is also Honorary Secretary of the Medieval Textiles and Dress Society.