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date: 19 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

On 12 March 1527 two French ambassadors were received by Henry VIII at Greenwich Palace. In the tiltyard, where they visited Henry's famous armoury, preparations had been underway for two months on the staging of a magnificent festival to celebrate the completion of their protracted and often difficult embassy. This was to be no ordinary court entertainment, but rather a series of associated events comprising ceremonial receptions, religious services, jousts, feasting, dancing, and theatrical performance. Contemporaries termed such extraordinary occasions ‘triumphs’ recalling ancient Roman celebrations of martial victories. This ‘triumph at Greenwich’ was one of two held in the palace and its tiltyard in 1527, both of which celebrated the conclusion of a French embassy. These triumphs now appear amongst the most elaborate and significant of early Tudor court festivals, in part because they are amongst the best documented. A number of first-hand narrative descriptions, together with extensive ‘revels accounts’, provide a uniquely detailed record of the preparations, performance, and reception of both occasions. The most significant narratives are those of Edward Hall, whose detailed descriptions of court entertainments recur consistently throughout his Chronicle.

Keywords: French embassy, diplomacy, Tudor court festivals, Edward Hall

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