A Field of Cloth of Gold for 2020

In 2020, a majestic event will arrive at Hampton Court Palace. In June 2020, it will be 500 years since Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met near Calais for a Grand European Summit. Designed to improve relations between the two kingdoms, the princes enjoyed a fortnight of; feasts, tournaments, masquerades and religious services. So extravagant was the affair that it became known as the "Field of Cloth of Gold".

Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King

To mark this event, Historic Royal Palaces will be rolling out the gold carpet with a special exhibition in the rooms of Thomas Wolsey.

Visitors will be guided through the turbulent relationship between the two nations and the events that resulted in François I requesting a meeting with Henry VIII. On display will be the original letter from François I to Thomas Wolsey, the organiser of the Field of Cloth of Gold in addition to the spectacular Stonyhurst vestments – woven from luxurious cloth and selected by Henry to use at religious services held during the festivities.

Moving deeper into the intricacies of the meeting, learn of the sheer scale of the occasion, from spending records kept to accounts of activities undertaken such as jousting and mass.

All’s fair in Love and War – discover how Henry VIII quickly turned against the new alliance and attacked France just one year later.

Henry VIII vs Francois I: The Rematch

From 23-31 May 2020, a spectacular festival of Tudor sport and entertainment will see the “rematch” held at the palace. Complete with jousting, foot combat and wrestling alongside a culture war of food, crafts and art, this event is guaranteed to make your tour EPIC!

The Great Tudor Games

In August 2020, visitors will be able to test their Tudor sporting skills at the Great Tudor Games. Under the guardianship of royal courtiers, build knowledge and skills of traditional Tudor games including jousting and archery.

Plan your visit

  • The exhibition will open on 10 April and will close on 31 August 2020
  • All activities will be included in admission to Hampton Court Palace
  • Tickets to Hampton Court Palace operate on a free sale basis

Image: The Field of Cloth of Gold c. 1545. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

Children and actors dressed in Tudor costumes enjoy a range of Tudor sports including falconry, archery, quintain and football.

Picture this! Life through a royal lens

For the very first time from 15 May 2020, groups to Kensington Palace can visit this exciting new exhibition of private photos taken by members of the Royal Family including works by celebrated fashion photographer and husband to Princess Margaret, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

For almost 200 years, the medium of photography has created an unprecedented intimacy between crown and subject. Learn how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s enthusiastic patronage of photography during its infancy helped this new invention receive greater scientific and public attention. On display will be examples of some of the earliest photographic images collected from the Royal Collection including a page from Queen Victoria's private negatives albums depicting Prince Albert. 

From the Victorian era to the Twentieth Century, the display will explore the impact of Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson’s work. Images of Her Majesty The Queen among other loyal sitters will reveal how their work shaped changing public perceptions of the Royal Family.

They may be some of the most photographed people in the world, but the royal family also have a passion for photography. A selection of images taken by members of the family will be exhibited, including works by Antony Armstrong-Jones, husband to Princess Margaret, who's images showed a different, informal side to the monarchy. Included in this display will be the infamous image of Princess Margaret posing in a bathtub wearing a Tiara alongside lesser-known images. 

Plan your visit 

  • This exhibition will open on 15 May 2020. Closing date to be confirmed
  • The exhibition will be included in palace admission
  • Pre-book your timed admission slot online