Conference: The Field of Cloth of Gold

Palaces, progresses and panache

Palaces, progresses and panache

Conference: The Field of Cloth of Gold

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update

In light of recent events and the current closure of Historic Royal Palaces' sites, we have made the difficult to cancel this conference. We hope to reschedule it at a later date and we will update this web page with details as soon as we know more.

We will be in contact with anyone who purchased a ticket to offer a full refund.  If you have any further questions please contact the programme administrator: [email protected].


In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold, Historic Royal Palaces is pleased to present a two-day academic conference on 29 and 30 June 2020 at Hampton Court Palace.

This conference will interrogate progresses, diplomatic meeting, and ceremonial entries in the early-modern period, their logistics and role in fashioning the royal image and explore the political, religious and social context of these large-scale events.

This event will mark the final event of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Network "Henry VIII on Tour: Tudor Palaces and Royal Progresses".

Keynote speakers

  • Simon Thurley
  • Mary Hill Cole, Mary Baldwin University
  • Glenn Richardson, St Mary’s University
  • Tracy Borman, Historic Royal Palaces (Introduction)


  • Programme Day 1

    Provisional Programme

    All sessions, registration, breaks and lunch will take place in the Garden Room unless otherwise specified.

    Day 1: Monday 29 June

    9:00-9:30 Registration

    9:30-9:45 Welcome to Historic Royal Palaces by Joint-Chief Curator Tracy Borman

    9:45-10:00 Introduction to the AHRC funded research network ‘Henry VIII on Tour: Tudor Palaces and Royal Progresses’, Anthony Musson (HRP) and John Cooper (University of York)

    10:00-11:00 Keynote: Glenn Richardson (St Mary’s University, Twickenham)

    11:00-11:30 Break

    11:30-13:00 Panel Sessions

    • Panel I: Diplomatic Meetings

    This panel will address the political and cultural aspects of diplomatic meetings between Tudor kings and foreign rulers in the lead up to and after the Field of Cloth of Gold, and how they represented these events.

    Sean Cunningham (The National Archives), ‘The Meetings of Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth with Philip the Fair and Joanna of Castile, 1500-1506: the dynamics of direct contact between rulers and the distortions of late medieval diplomatic exchange’

    Helen Coffey (Open University), ’Henry VIII and the Habsburgs: Music and Diplomacy around the Battle of the Spurs’

    Brett Dolman (Historic Royal Palaces), ‘Palaces, Progresses, Panache and Pictures’


    • Panel II: Marriage Progresses and Proposals on Tour

    This panel will address the natural combination of the royal marriage and the royal progress through an analysis of the (often long) journeys made by future spouses to their reach their bride or groom.

    Valerie Schutte, ‘Anne of Cleves: Bound for England’

    Patrik Pastrnak (University of Oxford), ‘Travelling grooms: A Royal Progress or a Wedding Journey?’

    Rachel Delman (University of York), ‘The Mother of All Progresses: Margaret Beaufort, the Royal Wedding of 1503, and the "Lost" Palace of Collyweston’

    13:00-14:30 Lunch

    14:30-16:00 Panel sessions

    • Panel III: Logistics of the Royal Progress in Peace and War

    This panel will address the logistics of the royal progress utilising inventories and financial accounts. It will offer an opportunity to compare the royal progress in England and France at times of peace and the logistics of a military campaign.

    Sebastian Edwards (Historic Royal Palaces), ‘Preparing to Progress’

    Eitienne Faisant (Sorbonne Université), ‘The French Kings on the Road: the Court’s Journeys in Renaissance France’

    Simon Lambe (King’s College London), ‘“A captain expert in war:” English military logistics during the Boulogne campaign of 1544-6’


    • Panel IV: Gift Giving and the Art of Diplomacy at the Field of Cloth of Gold

    This panel will look at how the behaviour of participants at the Field of Cloth of Gold was part of a wider diplomatic performance full of symbolism, which included the exchange of gifts, and socialising between the two royal courts…

    Lesley Mickel (University of the Highlands and Islands), ‘Theatricalisation at the Field of Cloth of Gold’

    James Taffe (University of Durham), ‘Pleasaunt pastime’, or drunken diplomacy? Ladies and gentlewomen at the Field of Cloth of Gold’

    Timothy Schroder, ‘Cloth of Gold and Plate of Gold’

    16:00-16:30 Break

    16:30-18:00 Panel Sessions

    • Panel V: Progresses and Performative Royal Power

    This panel will explore the performance of kingship and queenship by itinerant monarchs on tour, investigating how, by a variety of means, they engaged with their subjects, and both the practical and symbolic functions of these activities.

    Laura Flannigan (University of Cambridge), ‘Justice on Progress in Early Tudor England’

    Lucy Wooding (University of Oxford), ‘The Performance of Sanctity: Religious Symbolism in Royal Processions’

    Maria Hayward (University of Southampton), ‘“Remember that the theatre of the world is wider than the realm of England”: The progresses of Mary queen of Scots, 1561-67’


    • Panel VI: All in the Detail? Feasting, Dancing and Jousting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold

    This panel will analyse in closer detail three specific elements of the Field of Cloth of Gold: the choice of menu, the dance and dramas performed, and the type of jousting that took place, increasing our understanding of the practical realities of the event.

    Charlotte Ewart, ‘The dance/dramas of the Tudor court – importance, origins and legacy’

    Richard Fitch (Historic Royal Palaces), ‘Right honourable entertainment, or set menu A? Food at the Field of Cloth of Gold’

    Tobias Capwell (Wallace Collection), ‘Jousting at the Field of Cloth of Gold: Its Typology and Significance’


  • Programme Day 2

    Day 2: Tuesday 30 June

    9:00-9:30 Registration for day delegates

    9:30-10:30 Keynote: Mary Hill Cole (Mary Baldwin College)

    10:30-11:00 Break

    11:00-12:30 Panel VII: Exerting Itinerant Authority

    This panel will address how rulers utilised progresses, royal entries, and tournaments to exert political authority, foster loyalty amongst their nobility, and impress their subjects more widely.

    Dustin M. Neighbors (University of Copenhagen), ‘The Mobility of Henry VIII and Maximillian I: A Comparative Study of Itinerant Monarchies, Political Privacy, and State Co-Ordination’

    Mario Damen (University of Amsterdam), ‘Tournaments, Joyous Entries and the Itinerary of the Habsburg Court in the first half of the 16th century’

    Katarzyna Kosior (Northumbria University),’ The King Elect’s Progress: Logistics and Politics of Henri Valois’ Travel to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1573-4’

    12:30-14:00 Lunch

    14:00-15:30 Panel VIII: Constantly on the Move: Accommodating the Itinerant Court

    This panel will address the logistics of the royal progress, with particular focus on the subject of how various royal courts were physically accommodated and the highly peripatetic nature of both Francois I of France and James I of England.

    Monique Chatenet (Centre André Chastel, Paris), ‘François I on Progress: The Nomadism of the French Court in the first half of the 16th Century through the Eyes of Italian Diplomats’

    Maurice Howard (University of Sussex), ‘Monastic Lodgings: Housing the King Before and After the Dissolution’

    Emily Cole (Historic England), ‘The Itinerary of James I: the Last Great Royal Progresses in England’

    15:30-16:00 Break

    16:00-17:00 Keynote: Simon Thurley

    17:00 Conference Close

Further information

Conference date and time 

Mon, 29 Jun 2020, 09:00 –Tue, 30 Jun 2020, 17:00


Hampton Court Palace, The Garden Room



Henry VIII on Tour: Tudor Palaces and Royal Progresses

A one-year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research network assessing the characteristics, iconography and material culture associated with Tudor royal progresses and in particular those of Henry VIII. 

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