Monday, 11 November 2019

Ian Fleming and Ann Fleming.

'Extraordinary' letters between Ian Fleming and wife to be sold

More than 160 letters written over 20 years shine light on James Bond author’s life

Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Mon 11 Nov 2019 20.01 GMTLast modified on Mon 11 Nov 2019 20.30 GMT

An extraordinary stash of letters that shine a light on the tangled relationship between the James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, and his wife, Ann, from their intense and secret affair to the bitter end of their marriage, are to appear at auction.

Sotheby’s is selling more than 160 letters between the couple, written over 20 years. Gabriel Heaton, a specialist in books and manuscripts at the auction house, said the letters in their scope and scale provided what “must surely be an unmatchable record of the life of the author as his fortunes changed”.

They also provide insight into the rise of Bond. Heaton said it was no coincidence that Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in the year of his marriage.

It was “both as an outlet for his libido and imagination, and also in an attempt to make money for a woman who was used to being unthinkingly rich”.

Ann Fleming, née Charteris, was born into the aristocracy and married wealthy men. Her first husband was Shane O’Neill, the 3rd Baron O’Neill. After his death in military action in 1944, she married the newspaper magnate Esmond Harmsworth, the 2nd Viscount Rothermere.

During both marriages she and Fleming were lovers, an intense relationship that had sado-masochistic elements. “I long for you even if you whip me because I love being hurt by you and kissed afterwards,” Ann once wrote to Fleming.

In 1948 Ann became pregnant with Fleming’s child, a girl who was a month premature and lived only eight hours. The collection includes a number of sad and gentle letters written by Fleming on Gleneagles stationery shortly after he played golf with Rothermere, the cuckolded husband.

In one letter he writes: “I have nothing to say to comfort you. After all this travail and pain it is bitter. I can only send you my arms and my love and all my prayers.”

Fleming had numerous flings and affairs with other women and when the couple finally married in 1952 that was never likely to stop.

Ann once wrote to him: “You mention ‘bad old bachelor days’ – the only person you stopped sleeping with when they ceased was me!”

A letter from Fleming written on British Overseas Airways Corporation stationery reads: “In the present twilight, we are hurting each other to an extent that makes life hardly bearable.”

Heaton said the letters were packed with stories of high society, travel, love of nature and gossip.

“They are quite something, it has been a real treat,” he said. “They are an extraordinary read because Ian Fleming is pretty much incapable of writing a dull sentence.”

Fleming wrote all of the Bond novels at GoldenEye, his house in Jamaica, a place visited by many of Ann’s remarkable circle of friends. The artist Lucian Freud, for example, and the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, with whom she had a long affair.

There were also surprising visitors. “Truman Capote has come to stay,” Fleming writes. “Can you imagine a more incongruous playmate for me. On the heels of a telegram he came hustling and twittering along with his tiny face crushed under a Russian Commissars’ uniform hat [...] he had just arrived from Moscow.”

The letters consist of more than 500 typed and handwritten pages, at least three written on endpapers torn from books. Two of the letters from Ann are written on the back of a gin rummy card and a hospital temperature chart.

They will be offered in Sotheby’s online literature sale between 3 and 10 December and come with an estimate of £200,000-300,000.

It was important to keep them together, said Heaton. “They are much more than the sum of their parts, the correspondence as a whole is far more substantial and interesting and revealing and exciting than simply an accumulation of individual letters.”

Ann Geraldine Mary Fleming (née Charteris, 19 June 1913 – 12 July 1981), previously known as Lady O'Neill and Viscountess Rothermere, was a British socialite. She married firstly Lord O'Neill, secondly Lord Rothermere, and finally the writer Ian Fleming. She also had affairs with the Labour Party politicians Roy Jenkins and Hugh Gaitskell.

Fleming was born to Frances Lucy Tennant (1887–1925) and Captain Guy Lawrence Charteris (1886–1967) in Westminster, London on 19 June 1913. She was the eldest daughter and her grandfather was Hugo Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss. She learnt to value conversation and friendship from her grandmother, Mary Constance Charteris, Countess of Wemyss,[1] who had her own hedonistic past, having been one of The Souls.

She was educated by governesses after an unsuccessful term at Cheltenham Ladies' College. She had a good understanding of literature but her future was to be a debutante and she quickly married Lord O'Neill who was both an aristocrat and a financier in 1932. She had two children before beginning an affair with the influential Esmond Cecil Harmsworth in 1936.

Harmsworth was the heir to Lord Rothermere, who owned the Daily Mail. Her husband went to war and Ann appeared with Harmsworth as well as having an affair with Ian Fleming, then a stockbroker, who became an assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence. In 1940, Harmsworth became Lord Rothermere. Her husband was killed in action in 1944 and she married Lord Rothermere in 1945.

The couple entertained and their social circle included the painter Lucian Freud (who painted her portrait), the choreographer Frederick Ashton and the artist Francis Bacon. Meanwhile, Ian Fleming left the navy and became a journalist with The Sunday Times. He had built Goldeneye on land in Jamaica and he had demanded three-month vacations from his employer to enjoy his holiday home. The two spent three months of every year together in Jamaica; her new husband thought she was in Jamaica to visit Noël Coward.

In 1951 she was divorced by Lord Rothermere, and the following year she married Fleming. They had one child, Caspar. Ann was pregnant with her son when they married; he was born on 12 August 1952. Anxiety over his forthcoming marriage is said to be the reason that Ian Fleming wrote the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. Ann had a £100,000 divorce settlement and Fleming sought additional sources of revenue to add to his salary from The Sunday Times. The book and its sequels were immediate successes.

The Flemings bought a house in London, where they entertained. They later rebuilt Warneford Place at Sevenhampton, near Swindon, renaming it Sevenhampton Place and moving there in 1963. Her husband was not keen on the socialising, but their houses attracted Evelyn Waugh, Cyril Connolly and Peter Quennell, and she had affairs with Hugh Gaitskell and Roy Jenkins.

Her son Caspar died in London in October 1975 from an overdose of narcotics. Ann Fleming died at Sevenhampton Place on 12 July 1981. Both were buried alongside Ian at the church of St James in Sevenhampton.

Drugs, guns and the torment of his only son: As James Bond author Ian Fleming's life is dramatized, the TRUE story of his family proves just as fascinating

Bond author Ian Fleming's son Caspar killed himself aged 23
Fleming wrote Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang to his young son
Ian Fleming died of a heart attack on Caspar's 12th birthday

One of Caspar Fleming’s favourite places in all the world was Shane’s Castle, a ruin steeped in legend on the shores of Lough Neagh in County Antrim.
The castle and its 1,800-acre estate is the family seat of the illustrious O’Neill family; Caspar — the only son of James Bond creator Ian Fleming — was, through his mother, Lord O’Neill’s half-brother. During a visit in September 1975, Caspar would venture out each day, searching for old arrowheads from battles fought long ago.

To the outside world, he seemed in high spirits. Yet, at that point, he had almost certainly made the decision to kill himself. A week later, he returned to his mother’s flat in Chelsea, wrote a short suicide note, took a massive quantity of barbiturates and lay down to die. He passed away on October 2, 1975, aged just 23.

Caspar Fleming was a young man as brilliantly clever as he was tortured and, until now, the full tale of his tragically short life has never been told.

The story of his father Ian’s life is currently the focus of a new four-part TV drama, Fleming. The plot of the Sky Atlantic show follows a familiar path: Fleming’s glamorous life in London; the louche parties at GoldenEye, his Jamaican retreat; his womanising and his predilection for being spanked by his lovers.

But Caspar’s story is not so familiar to Bond aficionados. Ian Fleming’s name is synonymous with 007, but few identify him with an equally famous story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, about the car that could fly. That was the tale he wrote especially for his son.

Any suicide is unbearably sad, and Caspar’s left a deep wound within the Fleming family that has never truly healed. Only now can the true story of what drove him to commit such a desperate act be told.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The King - Timothée Chalamet | Official Teaser Trailer | Netflix Film | UK

| The King | Netflix / VIDEO:The Real Story Behind Timothée Chalamet's Henry V

The King review – Shakespeare reboot is Game-of-Thrones lite with touch of Python

Much of the poetry and emotion has gone from this decaff version of the Henry plays, letting down Timothée Chalamet’s decent lead performance

Peter Bradshaw
Fri 11 Oct 2019 09.00 BST

Shakespeare’s Henriad franchise has been rebooted on strangely sentimental lines in this movie from director and co-writer David Michôd, letting down the decent lead performance from Timothée Chalamet as the titular monarch, Henry V. It isn’t a showreel moment for Robert Pattinson playing the French Dauphin, who reminded me of John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I’m French! Why do you think I have this outrrrrageous accent, you silly king?”

This film replaces Shakespeare’s text with more comprehensible dialogue in the Game-of-Thrones-lite style, neuters the story’s famous emotional betrayal and even glibly suggests a throwaway conspiracy-theory explanation for the casus belli between the English and French before Agincourt.

Among other things, the sequence of plays – Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V – follows the 15th-century life of Henry, Prince of Wales, who is initially a wastrel, a drinker and a gadabout known vulgarly as Hal in the taverns of Eastcheap in the City of London, under the unwholesome influence of the notorious bon vivant and petty chancer Sir John Falstaff. In the originals, Hal embraces his destiny with the death of his father Henry IV, coldly rejects his pathetic father figure Falstaff (“I know thee not old man,” he tells him) and becomes the nation’s warrior king. In this movie, Henry V’s growing-up process is wildly accelerated and he does not reject Falstaff – played by Joel Edgerton – and even retains him as his trusted, bearded adviser on the field of battle, a kind of Little John to his Robin Hood.

All Falstaff’s fierce cynicism about honour and the absurdity of war has been junked, although this Falstaff has now acquired qualms about warfare that are centuries ahead of his time and strongly advises him against the war-criminal execution of prisoners (the sort of grisly event that is nonetheless not depicted on camera). There’s a new emphasis on one-on-one confrontation and trial by combat with much Bressonian clanging and banging as armoured knights whack each other. These and the battle sequences are plausibly filmed.

Sean Harris has an interesting role as Henry’s attendant lord; there’s a great cameo from Thibault de Montalembert (Matthias, from Netflix’s Call My Agent) playing the careworn Charles VI of France, and Chalamet gives it his all as the pudding-bowl-hairstyled young king. But so much of the poetry and the sense of loss has gone from this decaffeinated version of the story.

• The King is released in the UK and US on 11 October.

The Battle of Agincourt was one of the English victories in the Hundred Years' War. It took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt in northern France. England's unexpected victory against a numerically superior French army boosted English morale and prestige, crippled France, and started a new period of English dominance in the war.

After several decades of relative peace, the English had renewed their war effort in 1415 amid the failure of negotiations with the French. In the ensuing campaign, many soldiers died due to disease and the English numbers dwindled; they tried to withdraw to English-held Calais but found their path blocked by a considerably larger French army. Despite the disadvantage, the following battle ended in an overwhelming tactical victory for the English.

King Henry V of England led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. King Charles VI of France did not command the French army himself, as he suffered from severe psychotic illnesses with moderate mental incapacitation. Instead, the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.

This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers making up nearly 80 percent of Henry's army.

Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories and was one of the most important English triumphs in the Hundred Years' War, along with the Battle of Crécy (1346) and Battle of Poitiers (1356). It forms the centrepiece of the play Henry V by William Shakespeare.

Contemporary accounts
The Battle of Agincourt is well documented by at least seven contemporary accounts, three from eyewitnesses. The approximate location of the battle has never been in dispute and the place remains relatively unaltered after 600 years. Immediately after the battle, Henry summoned the heralds of the two armies who had watched the battle together with principal French herald Montjoie, and they settled on the name of the battle as Azincourt after the nearest fortified place. Two of the most frequently cited accounts come from Burgundian sources, one from Jean Le Fèvre de Saint-Remy who was present at the battle, and the other from Enguerrand de Monstrelet. The English eyewitness account comes from the anonymous Gesta Henrici Quinti, believed to be written by a chaplain in the King's household who would have been in the baggage train at the battle. A recent re-appraisal of Henry's strategy of the Agincourt campaign incorporates these three accounts and argues that war was seen as a legal due process for solving the disagreement over claims to the French throne.

Henry V invaded France following the failure of negotiations with the French. He claimed the title of King of France through his great-grandfather Edward III, although in practice the English kings were generally prepared to renounce this claim if the French would acknowledge the English claim on Aquitaine and other French lands (the terms of the Treaty of Brétigny). He initially called a Great Council in the spring of 1414 to discuss going to war with France, but the lords insisted that he should negotiate further and moderate his claims. In the following negotiations Henry said that he would give up his claim to the French throne if the French would pay the 1.6 million crowns outstanding from the ransom of John II (who had been captured at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356), and concede English ownership of the lands of Normandy, Touraine, Anjou, Brittany and Flanders, as well as Aquitaine. Henry would marry Catherine, the young daughter of Charles VI, and receive a dowry of 2 million crowns. The French responded with what they considered the generous terms of marriage with Catherine, a dowry of 600,000 crowns, and an enlarged Aquitaine. By 1415, negotiations had ground to a halt, with the English claiming that the French had mocked their claims and ridiculed Henry himself. In December 1414, the English parliament was persuaded to grant Henry a "double subsidy", a tax at twice the traditional rate, to recover his inheritance from the French. On 19 April 1415, Henry again asked the Great Council to sanction war with France, and this time they agreed.

Henry's army landed in northern France on 13 August 1415, carried by a fleet described by Shakespeare as "a city on the inconstant billows dancing / For so appears this fleet majestical". It was often reported to comprise 1,500 ships, but probably far smaller. Theodore Beck also suggests that among Henry's army was "the king's physician and a little band of surgeons". Thomas Morstede, Henry V's royal surgeon,[23] had previously been contracted by the king to supply a team of surgeons and makers of surgical instruments to take part in Agincourt campaign. The army of about 12,000, and up to 20,000 horses besieged the port of Harfleur. The siege took longer than expected. The town surrendered on 22 September, and the English army did not leave until 8 October. The campaign season was coming to an end, and the English army had suffered many casualties through disease. Rather than retire directly to England for the winter, with his costly expedition resulting in the capture of only one town, Henry decided to march most of his army (roughly 9,000) through Normandy to the port of Calais, the English stronghold in northern France, to demonstrate by his presence in the territory at the head of an army that his right to rule in the duchy was more than a mere abstract legal and historical claim. He also intended the manoeuvre as a deliberate provocation to battle aimed at the dauphin, who had failed to respond to Henry's personal challenge to combat at Harfleur.

The French had raised an army during the siege which assembled around Rouen. This was not strictly a feudal army, but an army paid through a system similar to the English. The French hoped to raise 9,000 troops, but the army was not ready in time to relieve Harfleur. After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to block them along the River Somme. They were successful for a time, forcing Henry to move south, away from Calais, to find a ford. The English finally crossed the Somme south of Péronne, at Béthencourt and Voyennes and resumed marching north. Without a river obstacle to defend, the French were hesitant to force a battle. They shadowed Henry's army while calling a semonce des nobles, calling on local nobles to join the army. By 24 October, both armies faced each other for battle, but the French declined, hoping for the arrival of more troops. The two armies spent the night of 24 October on open ground. The next day the French initiated negotiations as a delaying tactic, but Henry ordered his army to advance and to start a battle that, given the state of his army, he would have preferred to avoid, or to fight defensively: that was how Crécy and the other famous longbow victories had been won. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles (420 km) in two and a half weeks, were suffering from sickness such as dysentery, and faced much larger numbers of well-equipped French men-at-arms. The French army blocked Henry's way to the safety of Calais, and delaying battle would only further weaken his tired army and allow more French troops to arrive.

The precise location of the battle is not known. It may be in the narrow strip of open land formed between the woods of Tramecourt and Azincourt (close to the modern village of Azincourt). However, the lack of archaeological evidence at this traditional site has led to suggestions it was fought to the west of Azincourt. In 2019, the historian Michael Livingston also made the case for a site west of Azincourt, based on a review of sources and early maps.

English deployment
The battle of Agincourt
Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 1,500 men-at-arms and 7,000 longbowmen) across a 750-yard (690 m) part of the defile. The army was organised into three battles or divisions, with the right wing led by Edward, Duke of York, the center led by the king himself, and the left wing under Baron Thomas Camoys. The archers were commanded by Sir Thomas Erpingham, one of Henry's most experienced household knights.[34] It is likely that the English adopted their usual battle line of longbowmen on either flank, with men-at-arms and knights in the centre. They might also have deployed some archers in the centre of the line. The English men-at-arms in plate and mail were placed shoulder to shoulder four deep. The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. This use of stakes could have been inspired by the Battle of Nicopolis of 1396, where forces of the Ottoman Empire used the tactic against French cavalry.[c]

The English made their confessions before the battle, as was customary] Henry, worried about the enemy launching surprise raids, and wanting his troops to remain focused, ordered all his men to spend the night before the battle in silence, on pain of having an ear cut off. He told his men that he would rather die in the coming battle than be captured and ransomed.

Henry made a speech emphasising the justness of his cause, and reminding his army of previous great defeats the kings of England had inflicted on the French. The Burgundian sources have him concluding the speech by telling his men that the French had boasted that they would cut off two fingers from the right hand of every archer, so that he could never draw a longbow again. Whether this was true is open to question; as previously noted, death was the normal fate of any soldier who could not be ransomed.

French deployment
The French force was not only larger than that of the English, but their noble men-at-arms would have considered themselves superior to the large number of archers in the English army, whom the French (based on their experience in recent memory of using and facing archers) considered relatively insignificant. For example, the chronicler Edmond de Dyntner stated that there were "ten French nobles against one English", ignoring the archers completely.[38] Several French accounts emphasise that the French leaders were so eager to defeat the English (and win the ransoms of the English men-at-arms) that they insisted on being in the first line; as one of the contemporary accounts put it: "All the lords wanted to be in the vanguard, against the opinion of the constable and the experienced knights."

The French were arrayed in three lines or battles. The first line was led by Constable d'Albret, Marshal Boucicault, and the Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, with attached cavalry wings under the Count of Vendôme and Sir Clignet de Brebant. The second line was commanded by the Dukes of Bar and Alençon and the Count of Nevers. The third line was under the Counts of Dammartin and Fauconberg.[ The Burgundian chronicler Jean de Wavrin said there were 8,000 men-at-arms, 4,000 archers and 1,500 crossbowmen in the vanguard, with two wings of 600 and 800 mounted men-at-arms, and a main battle comprising "as many knights, esquires and archers as in the vanguard", with the rearguard containing "all of the rest of the men-at-arms". The Herald of Berry gave figures of 4,800 men-at-arms in the first line, 3,000 men in the second line, with two "wings" containing 600 mounted men-at-arms each, and a total of "10,000 men-at-arms",[42] but does not mention a third line.

Wavrin gives the total French army size as 50,000: "They had plenty of archers and crossbowmen but nobody wanted to let them fire [sic]. The reason for this was that the site was so narrow that there was only enough room for the men-at-arms."A different source says that the French did not even deploy 4,000 of the best crossbowmen "on the pretext they had no need of their help".[44]

The field of battle was arguably the most significant factor in deciding the outcome. The recently ploughed land hemmed in by dense woodland favoured the English, both because of its narrowness, and because of the thick mud through which the French knights had to walk.

Accounts of the battle describe the French engaging the English men-at-arms before being rushed from the sides by the longbowmen as the mêlée developed. The English account in the Gesta Henrici says: "For when some of them, killed when battle was first joined, fall at the front, so great was the undisciplined violence and pressure of the mass of men behind them that the living fell on top of the dead, and others falling on top of the living were killed as well."

Although the French initially pushed the English back, they became so closely packed that they were described as having trouble using their weapons properly. The French monk of St. Denis says: "Their vanguard, composed of about 5,000 men, found itself at first so tightly packed that those who were in the third rank could scarcely use their swords," and the Burgundian sources have a similar passage.

Recent heavy rain made the battle field very muddy, proving very tiring to walk through in full plate armour. The French monk of St. Denis describes the French troops as "marching through the middle of the mud where they sank up to their knees. So they were already overcome with fatigue even before they advanced against the enemy". The deep, soft mud particularly favoured the English force because, once knocked to the ground, the heavily armoured French knights had a hard time getting back up to fight in the mêlée. Barker states that some knights, encumbered by their armour, actually drowned in their helmets.

Opening moves
On the morning of 25 October, the French were still waiting for additional troops to arrive. The Duke of Brabant (about 2,000 men), the Duke of Anjou (about 600 men),[50] and the Duke of Brittany (6,000 men, according to Monstrelet), were all marching to join the army.

For three hours after sunrise there was no fighting. Military textbooks of the time stated: "Everywhere and on all occasions that foot soldiers march against their enemy face to face, those who march lose and those who remain standing still and holding firm win."[52] On top of this, the French were expecting thousands of men to join them if they waited. They were blocking Henry's retreat, and were perfectly happy to wait for as long as it took. There had even been a suggestion that the English would run away rather than give battle when they saw that they would be fighting so many French princes.

Henry's men were already very weary from hunger, illness and retreat. Apparently Henry believed his fleeing army would perform better on the defensive, but had to halt the retreat and somehow engage the French before a defensive battle was possible.  This entailed abandoning his chosen position and pulling out, advancing, and then re-installing the long sharpened wooden stakes pointed outwards toward the enemy, which helped protect the longbowmen from cavalry charges. (The use of stakes was an innovation for the English: during the Battle of Crécy, for example, the archers had been instead protected by pits and other obstacles.

The tightness of the terrain also seems to have restricted the planned deployment of the French forces. The French had originally drawn up a battle plan that had archers and crossbowmen in front of their men-at-arms, with a cavalry force at the rear specifically designed to "fall upon the archers, and use their force to break them,"[56] but in the event, the French archers and crossbowmen were deployed behind and to the sides of the men-at-arms (where they seem to have played almost no part, except possibly for an initial volley of arrows at the start of the battle). The cavalry force, which could have devastated the English line if it had attacked while they moved their stakes, charged only after the initial volley of arrows from the English. It is unclear whether the delay occurred because the French were hoping the English would launch a frontal assault (and were surprised when the English instead started shooting from their new defensive position), or whether the French mounted knights instead did not react quickly enough to the English advance. French chroniclers agree that when the mounted charge did come, it did not contain as many men as it should have; Gilles le Bouvier states that some had wandered off to warm themselves and others were walking or feeding their horses.

French cavalry attack
The French cavalry, despite being disorganised and not at full numbers, charged towards the longbowmen, but it was a disaster, with the French knights unable to outflank the longbowmen (because of the encroaching woodland) and unable to charge through the forest of sharpened stakes that protected the archers. John Keegan argues that the longbows' main influence on the battle at this point was injuries to horses: armoured only on the head, many horses would have become dangerously out of control when struck in the back or flank from the high-elevation, long-range shots used as the charge started.[58] The mounted charge and subsequent retreat churned up the already muddy terrain between the French and the English. Juliet Barker quotes a contemporary account by a monk of St. Denis who reports how the wounded and panicking horses galloped through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight from the battlefield.[59]

Main French assault
The plate armour of the French men-at-arms allowed them to close the 1,000 yards or so to the English lines while being under what the French monk of Saint Denis described as "a terrifying hail of arrow shot". A complete coat of plate was considered such good protection that shields were generally not used,[60] although the Burgundian contemporary sources distinguish between Frenchmen who used shields and those who did not, and Rogers has suggested that the front elements of the French force used axes and shields. Modern historians are divided on how effective the longbows would have been against plate armour of the time. Modern test and contemporary accounts conclude that arrows could not penetrate the better quality steel armour, which became available to knights and men-at-arms of fairly modest means by the middle of the 14th century, but could penetrate the poorer quality wrought iron armour[62] [63] [64] [65][66]. Rogers suggested that the longbow could penetrate a wrought iron breastplate at short range and penetrate the thinner armour on the limbs even at 220 yards (200 m). He considered a knight in the best-quality steel armour invulnerable to an arrow on the breastplate or top of the helmet, but vulnerable to shots hitting the limbs, particularly at close range. In any case, to protect themselves as much as possible from the arrows, the French had to lower their visors and bend their helmeted heads to avoid being shot in the face, as the eye- and air-holes in their helmets were among the weakest points in the armour. This head-lowered position restricted their breathing and their vision. Then they had to walk a few hundred yards (metres) through thick mud and a press of comrades while wearing armour weighing 50–60 pounds (23–27 kg), gathering sticky clay all the way. Increasingly, they had to walk around or over fallen comrades.

The surviving French men-at-arms reached the front of the English line and pushed it back, with the longbowmen on the flanks continuing to shoot at point-blank range. When the archers ran out of arrows, they dropped their bows and using hatchets, swords and the mallets they had used to drive their stakes in, attacked the now disordered, fatigued and wounded French men-at-arms massed in front of them. The French could not cope with the thousands of lightly armoured longbowmen assailants (who were much less hindered by the mud and weight of their armour) combined with the English men-at-arms. The impact of thousands of arrows, combined with the slog in heavy armour through the mud, the heat and difficulty breathing in plate armour with the visor down[69], and the crush of their numbers meant the French men-at-arms could "scarcely lift their weapons" when they finally engaged the English line. The exhausted French men-at-arms were unable to get up after being knocked to the ground by the English. As the mêlée developed, the French second line also joined the attack, but they too were swallowed up, with the narrow terrain meaning the extra numbers could not be used effectively. Rogers suggested that the French at the back of their deep formation would have been attempting to literally add their weight to the advance, without realising that they were hindering the ability of those at the front to manoeuvre and fight by pushing them into the English formation of lancepoints. After the initial wave, the French would have had to fight over and on the bodies of those who had fallen before them. In such a "press" of thousands of men, Rogers suggested that many could have suffocated in their armour, as was described by several sources, and which was also known to have happened in other battles.

The French men-at-arms were taken prisoner or killed in the thousands. The fighting lasted about three hours, but eventually the leaders of the second line were killed or captured, as those of the first line had been. The English Gesta Henrici described three great heaps of the slain around the three main English standards. According to contemporary English accounts, Henry fought hand to hand. Upon hearing that his youngest brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had been wounded in the groin, Henry took his household guard and stood over his brother, in the front rank of the fighting, until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. The king received an axe blow to the head, which knocked off a piece of the crown that formed part of his helmet.

Attack on the English baggage train

1915 depiction of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt : The King wears on this surcoat the Royal Arms of England, quartered with the Fleur de Lys of France as a symbol of his claim to the throne of France.
The only French success was an attack on the lightly protected English baggage train, with Ysembart d'Azincourt (leading a small number of men-at-arms and varlets plus about 600 peasants) seizing some of Henry's personal treasures, including a crown. Whether this was part of a deliberate French plan or an act of local brigandage is unclear from the sources. Certainly, d'Azincourt was a local knight but he might have been chosen to lead the attack because of his local knowledge and the lack of availability of a more senior soldier. In some accounts the attack happened towards the end of the battle, and led the English to think they were being attacked from the rear. Barker, following the Gesta Henrici, believed to have been written by an English chaplain who was actually in the baggage train, concluded that the attack happened at the start of the battle.

Henry executes the prisoners
Regardless of when the baggage assault happened, at some point after the initial English victory, Henry became alarmed that the French were regrouping for another attack. The Gesta Henrici places this after the English had overcome the onslaught of the French men-at-arms and the weary English troops were eyeing the French rearguard ("in incomparable number and still fresh"). Le Fèvre and Wavrin similarly say that it was signs of the French rearguard regrouping and "marching forward in battle order" which made the English think they were still in danger. A slaughter of the French prisoners ensued. It seems it was purely a decision of Henry, since the English knights found it contrary to chivalry, and contrary to their interests to kill valuable hostages for whom it was commonplace to ask ransom. Henry threatened to hang whoever did not obey his orders.

In any event, Henry ordered the slaughter of what were perhaps several thousand French prisoners, sparing only the highest ranked (presumably those most likely to fetch a large ransom under the chivalric system of warfare). According to most chroniclers, Henry's fear was that the prisoners (who, in an unusual turn of events, actually outnumbered their captors) would realize their advantage in numbers, rearm themselves with the weapons strewn about the field and overwhelm the exhausted English forces. Contemporary chroniclers did not criticise him for it.[76] In his study of the battle John Keegan argued that the main aim was not to actually kill the French knights but rather to terrorise them into submission and quell any possibility they might resume the fight, which would probably have caused the uncommitted French reserve forces to join the fray, as well. Such an event would have posed a risk to the still-outnumbered English and could have easily turned a stunning victory into a mutually destructive defeat, as the English forces were now largely intermingled with the French and would have suffered grievously from the arrows of their own longbowmen had they needed to resume shooting. Keegan also speculated that due to the relatively low number of archers actually involved in killing the French knights (roughly 200 by his estimate), together with the refusal of the English knights to assist in a duty they saw as distastefully unchivalrous, and combined with the sheer difficulty of killing such a large number of prisoners in such a short space of time, the actual number of French prisoners put to death may not have been substantial before the French reserves fled the field and Henry rescinded the order.

The lack of reliable sources makes it impossible to give a precise figure for the French and English casualties (dead, wounded, taken prisoner). The French sources all give 4,000–10,000 French dead, with up to 1,600 English dead. The lowest ratio in these French sources has the French losing six times more men than the English. It has been possible to name at least 500 individuals from the French army killed in the battle and over 300 prisoners.

English claims range from 1,500 to 11,000 for the French dead, with English dead put at no more than 100. Barker identifies from the available records "at least" 112 Englishmen killed in the fighting, including Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, a grandson of Edward III. One widely used estimate puts the English casualties at around 450, a significant number in an army of about 8,500, but far fewer than the thousands the French lost, nearly all of whom were killed or captured. Using the lowest French estimate of their own dead of 4,000 would imply a ratio of nearly 9 to 1 in favour of the English, or over 10 to 1 if the prisoners are included. Modern historians Anne Curry and Jonathan Sumption estimate the total French deaths at about 6,000.

The French suffered heavily. Three dukes, at least eight counts, a viscount, and an archbishop died, along with numerous other nobles. Of the great royal office holders, France lost her Constable, Admiral, Master of the Crossbowmen and prévôt of the marshals.[82] The baillis of nine major northern towns were killed, often along with their sons, relatives and supporters. In the words of Juliet Barker, the battle "cut a great swath through the natural leaders of French society in Artois, Ponthieu, Normandy, Picardy." Estimates of the number of prisoners vary between 700 and 2,200, amongst them the Duke of Orléans (the famous poet Charles d'Orléans) and Jean Le Maingre (known as Boucicault), Marshal of France.

Although the victory had been militarily decisive, its impact was complex. It did not lead to further English conquests immediately as Henry's priority was to return to England, which he did on 16 November, to be received in triumph in London on the 23rd. Henry returned a conquering hero, seen as blessed by God in the eyes of his subjects and European powers outside France. It established the legitimacy of the Lancastrian monarchy and the future campaigns of Henry to pursue his "rights and privileges" in France. Other benefits to the English were longer term. Very quickly after the battle, the fragile truce between the Armagnac and Burgundian factions broke down. The brunt of the battle had fallen on the Armagnacs and it was they who suffered the majority of senior casualties and carried the blame for the defeat. The Burgundians seized on the opportunity and within 10 days of the battle had mustered their armies and marched on Paris.This lack of unity in France allowed Henry eighteen months to prepare militarily and politically for a renewed campaign. When that campaign took place, it was made easier by the damage done to the political and military structures of Normandy by the battle.

Queen's BAN on real fur

Queen's BAN on real fur: Her Majesty now only buys faux pieces for her personal wardrobe (but will continue to don ermine-trimmed robes and crowns on state occasions)
Queen will not buy new outfits containing real fur but may still wear fur clothes
The 93-year-old was pictured wearing fur coat on Christmas day in 2015
She is the first member of the royal family to publicly shun fur
Palace would not confirm any plans to use faux fur in robes or crowns 

PUBLISHED: 15:02 GMT, 5 November 2019 | UPDATED: 20:57 GMT, 5 November 2019

The Queen no longer uses fur in her outfits, having switched to fake fur this year, her senior dresser has revealed.

Angela Kelly, the head of state's personal adviser and confidante, made the disclosure in her book about her close relationship with the monarch, The Other Side Of The Coin.

She wrote: 'If Her Majesty is due to attend an engagement in particularly cold weather, from 2019 onwards fake fur will be used to make sure she stays warm.'

Buckingham Palace today confirmed the move to FEMAIL, saying: 'As new outfits are designed for the Queen, any fur used will be fake.'

The palace 'would not speculate' on whether any fur coats already owned by the Queen could still be worn, or if the change will extend to the monarch's historic robe of state, which consists of an ermine and velvet cape, and is worn at the State Opening of Parliament.

The move is believed to make the Queen the first member of the royal family to publicly shun real fur.

The Queen will not be buying more clothes containing real fur, the palace has said. She is pictured here wearing a brown fur coat when she attended church in Norfolk in 2015 on Christmas day, and wearing a fur coat in 1963

The Queen's move may not apply to real furs that are used in state robes and official gowns. Here the Queen is pictured wearing a white fur, believed to be fake, at the state opening of parliament in 2009     

 The Queen came under fire from animal rights campaigners in 2010 for wearing a cream-coloured fur hat made from fox hair when she attended church at Sandringham on Christmas day

The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to outlaw fur farming on ethical grounds in 2000.

Her Majesty was pictured wearing a brown fur coat to attend a Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in 2015, and in a fox-fur-lined coat and fox-fur hat as she attended the same church on Christmas day in 2010.

PETA, which has campaigned for fur sales to be banned, said its staff were ‘raising a glass of gin and Dubonnet’ to the Queen’s compassionate decision.

‘This new policy is a sign of the times, as 95 per cent of the British public would also refuse to wear real fur,' they said.

The Queen wearing a brown fur coat in Winnipeg, in Canada, in 2002 during celebrations of her Royal Golden Jubilee             

Her majesty was also pictured sporting the same coat when she visited Green Park underground station in 1969      +7

‘In 2019, no one can justify subjecting animals to the agony of being caged for life or caught in steel traps, electrocuted, and skinned for toxic fur items – so it's a disgrace that soldiers in the Queen's Guard are still parading around with the fur of bears gunned down in Canada on their caps.

‘We respectfully urge Her Majesty to complete the policy by ordering that the fur be replaced by the humane, luxurious faux bearskin that PETA has helped develop alongside faux-furrier Ecopel and designer Stella McCartney.’

Animal rights activists at Animal Aid said that the move was 'positive' but called on the Queen to extend the policy to ceremonial garments.

'With growing awareness about the terrible cruelty caused by fur production, it is certainly positive to hear that the Queen will no longer be using real fur in her new outfits,' they said in a statement.

'It is abhorrent that to this day, animals are still condemned to appalling suffering for the sake of fashion, and we are encouraged that the Queen is taking steps to avoid contributing to this.

'We hope that this policy will also extend to ceremonial garments such as robes.'

The Humane Society, which runs the #FurFreeBritain, also said in a statement that it was 'thrilled' Her Majesty had gone fur free.

'Queen Elizabeth's decision to "go faux" is the perfect reflection of the mood of the British public, the vast majority of whom detest cruel fur and want nothing to do with it.

'Our Head of State going fur free sends a powerful message that fur is firmly out of fashion and does not belong with Brand Britain.'

The royals have often been criticised for their use of fur over the years.

In 2013, the Queen was urged by animal rights charity Peta to get 'with these more enlightened times'.

She has worn fur at numerous engagements over the decades, and was often seen in a brown fur coat she first debuted in 1961, and which she has sometimes worn when arriving for Christmas Day church services.

Have other royals worn real fur?
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla was photographed wearing a brown hat made of real fur in 2010.

The Duchess donned the 'ostentatious' garment for a Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.

In 2017, it was reported that the Duchess had switched to fake fur following the barrage of criticism she received for sporting the Russian-style hat.

She was rumoured to have purchased six bespoke faux fur-trimmed hats from upmarket firm Lock & Co - and was seen proudly wearing one during Christmas that year.

Since, she is said to have sworn off real fur and to have purchased six fake-fur-trimmed hats such as this one, that she is shown wearing while leaving the same church in 2016          +7
The Duchess was roundly berated after she wore the real fur hat in 2010 for a Christmas day church service at St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, and is now said to have sworn off real fur for good

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Kate has been pictured wearing fur hats made from alpacas who have died of natural causes.

The Duchess was seen in a chestnut brown £225 Sumac hat by Lacorine, made in Peru under the fairtrade label by local artisans, when she visited Oslo last year.

Kate in black alpaca fur hat that same week when she visited Nobel Museum in Stockholm
Kate pictured wearing a chestnut brown alpaca fur £225 Sumac hat by Lacorine, made in Peru, as she visits Oslo last year  and Kate in black alpaca fur hat that same week when she visited Nobel Museum in Stockholm 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wearing otter fur scarfs on the day they were given them while visiting a tribe in Canada in 2016      +7

The royal was also seen wearing a black alpaca fur hat earlier that same week when she visited the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

Kate and Prince William were slammed by animal rights activists in 2016 when they were shown wearing otter fur scarves they had been given while visiting the First Nations Haida Community during an official tour of Canada.

The scarves were given by the tribe as a sign of welcome and respect.

The Duchess has also been criticised for wearing fake fur hats when they have been identified as real fur.

The International Fur Trade Federation accused her of wearing an animal fur bobble hat when she was pictured in the garment in London in 2012.

However, Buckingham Palace quickly corrected them, and revealed the hat was, in fact, fake fur.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in London in October this year as they attend the WellChild Awards

 Meghan has never been pictured wearing real fur, and has even been heralded as vegan-fashion royalty by animal rights activists.

The Duchess was said to be strongly opposed to wearing in real fur in 2018 by her close friend Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, who works in talent management, reports the Independent.

The 52-year-old, who worked as the royal's commercial agent for two years, revealed Meghan has a strict no-fur policy.

She is also said to love vegan leather, according to Good Housekeeping.

During an interview with the publication, she said: 'Personally, I love cropped pants in vegan leather, a great fitted blazer and a button-down [shirt].'

In 1962, she wore a leopard-skin coat to a Sandown Park race meeting.

In 2006, Kate Middleton, before she married the Duke of Cambridge, was accused of being out of touch after being seen in what appeared to be a mink hat at the Cheltenham races.

The Duchess of Cornwall was criticised for wearing a rabbit fur stole during a tour of Canada in 2009.

On the same trip, she also wore a fawn-coloured calf-length cape lined with grey fur.

The fur in the garment had belonged to her grandmother and was re-fashioned for the occasion

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Paul Walker: The Walker Slater founder and designer .

Paul Walker: Designing 21st Century tweed

Tony McGuire
1:36 pm February 27, 2017

In a secret green space off of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, Paul Walker’s studio is packed with tweeds of every imaginable pattern, colour and texture.

The Walker Slater founder and designer thinks the hand-loomed textile can become as diverse a fabric as the Italian denim.

“Tweed is almost becoming the denim of Scotland. The Italian’s do denim very well and Scots do tweed very well,” he says.

Traditional Harris tweed lends colours from the countryside – mossy greens, ocean blues and rugged mountainous browns are on every rail in Walker Slater’s two Edinburgh stores.

Aesthetics to the side for a moment, Paul remarks how tweed is equally functional and beautiful.

“It’s warm, it’s water repellant and it’s carelessly elegant,” he says.

Paul and business partner Frances Slater – a textile designer from Edinburgh – came together to “produce a melange of textiles, a partnership that you know now to be Walker Slater.

Originally working from the Highlands, he helped focus their efforts into tweed.

He recalls: “There was a realisation we had a great resource on our doorstep that wasn’t being utilised.

“I remember going down to the Borders and seeing some of the old Gardener’s fabrics – Gardeners was a mill at the time – and thinking ‘Whoa! These are fantastic’.

“We started making jacketing and it all moved forward from there.”

Borders tweed is generally much lighter a fabric than its Harris counterpart, and the pliable fabric led Paul and Frances to create their first three-piece suit.

Their range of clothing for men and women showcases the versatility of tweed, breathing new life and contemporary relevance into the cloth traditionally associated with country estates and hunting parties.

Milan, Rome, London, Paris and New York designers are all embracing Scottish tweed. Between 2009 and 2012, Scottish tweed output shot up from 450,000 meters to one million meters. Much of this global interest can be linked back to Scotland, designers like Walker Slater and the tweed industry’s own drive to stay relevant.

“The mills on Harris and in the Borders have done well getting the message out to the big players [in fashion] with a product they can buy into,” he says, adding “they buy in to a bit of Scotland with it.”

Walker Slater has enjoyed a boost from several high-profile collaborations with the Ryder Cup, Scottish Football and the Scottish Rugby Union teams, tailoring unique wardrobes for our national sides with homespun cloth.

Paul repeatedly exalts tweed’s rich colours and textures, but he also draws attention to some of its lesser-known charms: “There are things about tweed that you maybe wouldn’t expect.

“As a fabric and as a way of life it has a tremendous heritage. It’s protected by an act of parliament and specific to a sometimes-forgotten region of Scotland. Having been up there, you realise how important it is to the local economy and how it fits in to the way of life there.”

“Sometimes we’ve been notified a delivery might be late due to the good weather allowing Peat cutting to take place. The weavers go outside and cut their Peat for the next winter, so it has this human touch to it.”

Walker Slater designs set out to challenge the traditional tweed ensemble to keep the fabric relevant with modern fashion trends.  Of all his experimenting with the cloth, the lavish three-piece suit holds a special place in their history and development.

“We tried a lot of things – the development through from the really heavy tweeds where it didn’t work, right through to the Borders tweed using fine mixes of wool, cashmere and cotton, developing something that was very wearable in the daytime and for evening wear.”

“We keep to trends that help tweed maintain relevance with shapes and fits that fit in with our ethos which is ‘careless elegance’.

“Careless elegance is something which is really important, not a contrived look – you can pull it together, you can mix it up. and that’s where it becomes a bit rock and roll as well.”

Walker Slater Menswear and Womenswear stores can be found on Victoria Street, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh store: 20 Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2HG / 01312 209750

Walker Slater (Covent Garden), 38 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AA / 0203 7549787

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