Today in the Middle Ages: June 7, 1520

The rival kings of England and France, Henry VIII and Francis I, met near Calais on June 7, 1520 for the meeting and tournament that became known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

The meeting was held because of Henry's great need to ally himself with a great continental power. The two kings had long been rivals, and at the field they went to extremes to impress one another. Cloth-of-gold pavilions, fountains flowing with wine, chivalric combats and ostentatious garb dazzled all beholders.

The two-week event nearly bankrupted both kings' treasuries, but politically had little result. No alliance was formed.