Situated just ten miles south of Calais, Balinghem is an unremarkable little village, but five hundred years ago this quiet countryside played host to one of the most spectacular meetings in history—between rivals King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. For a period of 18-days, the two greatest monarchs and their vast entourage took part in a grand festival of banquets, tournaments, masquerades and religious services. The gathering was so magnificent and the display of wealth and power was so ostentatious that it became known as the Field of Cloth of Gold.
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The Field of the Cloth of Gold, oil painting of circa 1545.