This was an age of ostentation. The monarchs in both countries expended huge amounts of money in public demonstrations of wealth and power. The message to the populace was that the monarchs were beings who far outshone mere mortals – they were the embodiment on earth of divine might.

At the lower end of the scale, the regular Saint’s Day feasts and processions arranged in parishes or by the Town Guilds gave colour, entertainment and the opportunity to flirt, to people whose lives that were often hard and lacking in variety.