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June 6, 1522 – Charles V Visits London

You have to hand it to Charles V – the man made so much more use of travel than his contemporaries. Yes, he had to because his dominions were far-flung, but he also leveraged that into a strong personal diplomacy that really made a difference in his alliances. His visit to Henry’s court this time crowned the monarchs’ plans for a joint war with France.

While in England, Charles was fêted at Greenwich with a two-day joust before the real business was to begin at Westminster. The royal party made their way to London — and of course, Henry did not waste the opportunity to dazzle. In Charles’ own words (redacted into third person by L&P), they “met with a magnificent reception from a great company of knights and gentlemen, with solemn and costly pageants, to the great joy of all the people.”

Just to give you a fun taste of the pageantry involved, here is the accounting of preparations for the joust:

  • Cloth of gold of damask, from the King’s store, 46½ yds. bought of Wm. Botre, 12 yds. at 46s. 8d., used for covering 2 whole bards, for 2 half bases and bards to match with mountains, and for mountains, hearts and “furnishments.”
  • Cloth of silver, 11 yds., at 40s., cut by Mortimer into mountains and wrought pictures of arms, &c. for the borders of bases and bards.
  • Russet velvet, 26 yds., cut into borders, for 2 half bases to match the mountains and 2 half-bard coverings to match the cloth of gold.
  • Venice gold fringe, 47 oz., bought of Eliz. Studlay, at 4s. 6d. the oz., for the bordering of 3 bases and 2 bards.
  • Venice gold cordells, 44 oz., at 4s. 6d., bought of Eliz. Phelip. spent on the King’s bard and apparel.
  • Silk points and cordells, 207½ oz., at 14d., for 19 bards and apparels.
  • Hempen tresses, 40 doz., at 5s. a doz., bought of Mrs. Crochet, for trussing 20 bards and their coverings for surety.
  • Yellow satin, 97½ yds., at 7s. 6d., for 4 long coats with sleeves, and 20 short coats with sleeves, for Sir Rauf of A Gertun (Egerton), Gibson, Assamus, … Johvell, armourers … and for the 9 lords who ran on the King’s side.
  • Yellow sarsnet, 25 yds., at 4s., used by Nic. Mageor for wrapping buckles and thongs of 20 bards, for 20 sword girdles for those who ran, and 20 girdles for gentlemen waiters.
  • Black buckram, 3 pieces, at 6s., used in the tents for embroidering the bases.
  • Yellow kersey, 3 yds., at 2s. 6d., for hosen for Assamus and Jhowholle, armourers.
  • To Wm. Mortimer, for embroidering 2 half bards of russet velvet, “with knights on horseback, riding upon mountains of gold, with broken spears in their hands, and ladies coming out of clouds, casting darts at the knights, and all the upper part of the same bare, powdered with clouds, purfled and wrought with Venice gold and Venice silver,” 8l.; for embroidering 2 half bases with hearts, ciphers and hands, clouds, and sleeves and hands with darts, purfled with Venice gold, 3l. 6s.; embroidering 42 yds. of border on russet velvet, 11l. 11s.
  • To Nic. Mageor, for 2 men making buckles, &c. for 4 days, at 8d. a day; 2 doz. great buckles, 4s.; leather and nails, 2s.
  • To tailors, for workmanship, 8d. a day.
  • To Lewes, of Queenhithe, for a barge and 6 rowers, for carrying the stuff to Greenwich, 16s.

[PS – “purfled” is not a typo: it means “decorated with an ornamental border”]

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