|Kings Henry and Francis "wrestling"|
I wrote about the Field of Cloth of Gold, as it came to be known, in Songbird, but it crops up again in A Wider World, because the (different) main character experiences some of the same events.
|Henry's flagship, the Henry Grace-a-Dieu|
***As the king aged, so the court grew in importance. Looking back, we were a backwater country compared to the rest of Europe, but we knew it not—and if anyone did, they wisely did not speak of it.
In 1520, the cardinal arranged for a meeting to take place between King Henry and the French king. It was as much spectacle as summit, and certainly every noble with a guinea in his pocket to outfit his household was there, along with all the royal musicians and choristers, and enough servants to keep the whole production running smoothly.
It was my first time aboard ship, and while the majority of the choristers hung over the rail or confined themselves below, I stealthily climbed to the crow’s nest to catch my first glimpse of France as we crossed the narrow sea.
Calais looked no different than England, but it was. It was France. Another country. Where other languages were spoken and unfamiliar customs were the norm. It was like being handed an enormous, breathing book, and told I had just over two weeks to learn it all. I determined to try.