The Tudor Society

26 May 1520 – Henry VIII and Charles V meet at Dover Castle

On 26th May 1520, King Henry VIII met with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, at Dover Castle on the south coast of England.

Here is an account of this event from chronicler Edward Hall:

"The king intending and perseveryng in purpose to mete with Frances the Frenche kyng, greate and riche provisions were made, wherfore the noble Kyng and the Quene with all the noble courte removed the twentie and one daie of May beyng on Mundaie, from their maner of Grenewyche towardes the Sea side, and so on the Fridaie beeyng the twentie and five daie of May, arrived at the citee of Canterbury, intendyng there to kepe his Pentecoste.

Sone after whiche commyng to Cantorbury, tidynges wer brought that Charles Emperor electe, was on the sea, in sight of the coast of England, wherfore officers of the kyng were sent with great diligence to the Castle and toune of Dover to be there in a redines against the arrival of the Emperor.

The reverent father in God my lorde Cardinall, came to the toune of Dover in hast with a noble repaire, abidyng the commyng of the Emperour, whiche Emperour, the Saterdaie beyng the. xxvi. dale of Maii arrived with all his navie of shippes royall on the coast of Kent, directe to the toune or porte of Hieth thesaied daie by noone, where he was hailed by the noble knight sir Willyam Fitzwillyam, vice admirall of Englande-, with sixe of the kynges shippes well furnished, whiche laye for the safegarde of passage betwene Dover and
Caleis, at the costes and charges of the kyng of Englande. Calmenes of the wether and lacke of wynde, caused that the Emperoure might not so sone take lande at the porte of Dover, as he would have dooen. Notwithstanding towardes the even he departed from his shippes, and entered into his boate commyng towardes the lande, where in his commyng to the land: on the sea the reverent father lorde Wolsay Cardinall and Legate, mette and received hym with suche reverence, as to so noble a Prince apperteigned. Thus landed the Emperoure Charles, under the clothe of his estate of the blacke Egle ail splaied on riche clothe of golde. In his retinue with hym; were many noble menne, and many faire Ladies of his bloud as princes and princesses, & one ladie as chief to be noted, was the princes Avinion with many other nobles whiche landed with hym in high and sumptuous maner and great riches in their apparell: greate joye made the people of England to see the Emperour, and more to see the benygn maner and mekenes of so high a prince.

Then when the Emperour thus had taken lande, the reverente father lord Cardynall was as conducte to thesame noble Emperour from the shore of Dover unto the castell there: then were all persons chered, the best that there in the towne might be.

After the departing of Themperour to the lande from his navy, the appareil of everyship then shewed, as flagges, banners, stremers, & targetes, then the mighty ordinaunce of every of them brake oute by force of fyer as though the see had brente, marvelous was the noyse of the gonnes.

The Emperour beyng thus in the castell of Dover, with hast tidynges came to the kyng where as he was at Cantorbury, who hasted hym towards the noble Emperour. And so came riding early in the morning to the castell of Dover, within which castell the kyng alighted: the Emperour heryng the king to be come, came out of his chamber to mete with the kyng and so met with him on the stayres or he could come up, when eche embraced other right lovingly: then the kyng brought the Emperour to his chamber, where as there communyng was of gladnes.

Sone after these two noble princes on the Whitsonday early in the morenynge tooke their horse and rode to the Cytee of Cantorbury, the more to solempne the feast of Pentecost, but specially to see the quene of England his aunte was the intent of the Emperour.

The noble personages of the realme of England and the quene with her beautiful trayne of ladies received and welcommed the same Charles elect Emperour, whose person was by the kyng conveighed to a faire and pleasant chamber where thesayde Emperour apparelled hym right nchely. Then the noble rc-tynue of thesayde Emperour aswell of lordes as ladyes were lodged, aswell as there myght be, with joye and muche gladnes, and there in Cantorbury sojorned the Emperour and all hys trayne with the kyng, untill the Thursdaie in the same weke.

The last daie of May beyng Thursday, the Emperour toke leave of the kyng & of all the ladyes, and gave great thankes, and so rode to Sandewiche, and there toke his shippes the wynd to hym was likyng, wherby he sayled into Flaunders."

Hall records that after the departure of the Emperor Henry VIII sailed from Dover to Calais "and with hym the quene and ladyes and many nobles of the realm." This would have been in preparation for the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting with King Francis I of France, which began on 7th June 1520 - click here to read more about that.

Notes and Sources

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