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Henry VIII meets Emperor Maximilian in Picardy

From Letters and Papers Volume 1, part 2

Emperor Maximilian met with Henry VIII in early August of 1513 in Picardy.  The Germans published a book on the event.  Interestingly the portions describing Henry and his troops include some clothing details, and since it is given in both languages, it is fun to see how it was translated.


The Emperor's company rode in winter mantles on acount of the weather.

The King of England is a proper man of very good figure, a merry, well-colored face, well spoken, popular and intelligent; and, as befit is youth, bold and warlike, and not yet 33 (sic) years old.  He rode clad in his armour without the helmet, wearing a surcoat (darüber mit ein guldin tuch bekleidet - over which he was clothed with a golden cloth )of cloth of gold; his hair bound in a rich golden cap (Huben) in which were set many rich precious stones.  It was covered with a red shagy hat (roten zotteten Hüt) with many red feathers.  He sat a beautiful brown stallion, the bridle and harness laid with pure beaten gold plates.  There hung to the martingale and the harness many golden bells, each about 2 oz. in weigh, some of which were so loosely fastened that when he made his stallion bound one or other of the golden bells fell off and he called to a German to pick it up and keep it, and none of his own people might pick up any.  After him went 14 beautiful stallions of all colours, their reins and harness laid with beaten silver, and also thereto fastened silver bells which rang out as they rode.

On them sat fourteen boys, each clad in a golden coat (mit einen guldin stuck bekleit was - clothed with a gold cloth) and, over it, because of the rain, a scarlet mantle edged with green velvet (ein scharlach mantel mit grünen sammet gebrempt).  And at the halt, if they saw a German admiring their stallions, they would pull off a bell and give it him, each of which weighed one and a half or two oz. of good silver.  Of these bells many were thus given to the Emperor's people, especially the footguard.  Of the King of England's servants and lords riding with him many wore coats completely covered with gold and silver plates bound together with rings instead of seams, others cloth of gold, velvet and rich clothing (gulden tuch samet vnd kostlich bekleidung) and they were provided with beautiful stallions.  He was reckoned to have about 2,500 horse in his pay that day.  The Emperor, too, had with him from the town 1,000 horse.

Afterwards, on the 14th, the Emperor again rode out; and, when he came about halfway to the English camp, the King with certain of his lords and gentlemen came to met him and again received him with great courtesy.  He had not many mounted men, but had his footguards or halberdiers with him, of whom about 300 all clad in one colour (all in ein farb gekleidet) ran with him on foot.  From a tower the king shewed the Emperor what battery he had made.  Whilst both lords were on the tower the King had placed all his people who were in camp in lines everywhere three or four deep.  He conducted the Emperor through to inspect this.  They are really big strong men having a captain to every hundred, and their pennon on a long spear as our horsemen carry them. It is carried with both hands in front against the breast.  Some have English bows, some crossbows, certain of them maces with long handles and certain of them long spears and almost all are clad in long white coats edged with green cloth (all in weiz wopenrock gekleidetmit grünen tuch verpremdt) and wear breast plates, and steelcaps on their heads.  For their field music they have a flute player and a bagpiper who play together and certain of them a trumpet.

When the Emperor had ridden through  the men the King conducted him into his camp.  There were certain tents together hung throughout the white cloth and in the entry of the tents guards stood here and there and one with a naked sword; and the arrangement of the tents looked like a castle or little town.  Entering the gateway, one passed into the tents, first a tent then a passage between, then another tent covered here and there with gold until one came to the King's tent, which was of handsome size.  Inside, all over, m the ground to the roof, it was covered with red florins and pure drawn ducats and gold ornaments (covered god with rich cloth of gold of pure drawn gold thread).  There is also therein here and there a beautiful gilded sideboard of very large vessels and flagons, among them some drinking cups all of gold, which are looked after by certain persons who are thereto appointed.  And whosoever came in was presented with wine and English beer.  The outside of the tent was likewise from the ground to the summit overlaid with good cloth of gold an ell of which, as the Emperor's tailor estimated, was worth 33 florins.  That was the value of every ell up to the summit.  Above all stood a lion all of gold holding the arms of England in its paws and more than two span in length over all.  In that tent the Emperor at his supper, which was always prepared by his cook.  Out of the tent one goes through a passage, covered within and without with cloth of gold, into a council house which puts together and takes apart to pieces again.  It is painted red outside, and within is hung with golden tapestry.  Therein stood the King's bed, hung round with a curtain of very precious cloth of gold, the gilt woodwork being carved and very well finished.  A similar tent and sideboard the King of England presented to the Emperor with great courtesy.
Tags: henry viii, inventory
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