The Hundred Years War ends in England’s agonising defeat – but triumph for Jonathan Sumption

On 5 February 1328 the last Capetian king of France was laid to rest in the royal mausoleum of Saint-Denis. It is now 33 years, and more than 3,000 pages since Jonathan Sumption’s first readers followed Charles IV on his last journey, as his funeral procession wound its slow way from Notre-Dame across the Grand Pont and out through the streets of Paris into the open countryside to the north of Europe’s most populous and richest city. The death of Charles IV led to a crisis of succession that for the next four generations would embroil France and England in a war of unimaginable savagery. At the time of his

The beauty of a serious Burgundy

It was the English summer at its most perverse. We were drinking Pimm’s while hoping against hope for better news from Old Trafford. As the clock ticked and the rain was unrelenting, one of our number emitted a groan which seemed to start from his boot soles. ‘Why can’t there be a bit of global warming in Manchester?’ The girls were growing restive. ‘I can just about put up with you lot discussing cricket, but not if it’s an excuse to talk about the weather’ was one eloquent complaint. A fair comment, so we changed the subject, while keeping a surreptitious weather eye on Manchester. All unavailing. The caravan of