Even by the excessive standards of Henry VIII, this was something of a corker.
Intent on displaying his wealth, sophistication and generosity at a meeting with Francis I, the king of France, the portly English monarch built two fountains which spouted hundreds of gallons of free wine a day for his courtiers to enjoy.
Today, the clock was turned back to those extravagant times when a fully-working replica of one of those Tudor symbols of magnificence was unveiled at Hampton Court Palace, where Henry did much lavish entertaining.
The project was inspired by the discovery of the remains of a 16th century fountain during an archaeological dig at the palace two years ago.
The replica's design was based on the Field of the Cloth of Gold painting displayed at the palace. It shows Henry's meeting with Francis I at Guines near Calais in June 1520, when Henry also erected a a temporary 'palace' made from canvas.
The meeting's aim was to strengthen the friendship between the two kings.
Henry's wine fountains clearly went down well - the painting even depicts some people vomiting after having too much to drink.
According to historical documents, one French guest observed that the fountains 'continually spouted white wine and claret, the best that could be found, with large silver cups for any one to drink - which was a remarkable thing!'.
The 13ft tall replica, made of timber, lead, bronze and gold leaf, stands on the site of the excavated fountain in Hampton Court's largest inner courtyard, Base Court, where Henry's guests were welcomed and received by court officials.
It is painted to look like white and red marble, features a naked gold figure of the Greek god of wine Bacchus, and bears the motto 'faicte bonne chere quy vouldra' - or 'let he who wishes make good cheer.'
A spokesman for the Historic Royal Palaces admitted they did not know how the fountain would have operated in Tudor times.
'We have had to start from scratch. We know what it was built of and what it looked like but not the details,' she said.
'The outside is very 16th century, but it has a 21st century interior.'
Until the 20th century, when pumps were invented, gravity was used to force the water from cisterns through pipes and out through the fountain's holes.
Yesterday Dr Kent Rawlinson, curator of historic buildings at Hampton Court, said wine was a drink enjoyed primarily by the upper classes in Henry's time. It was imported mainly from France with only two shipments a year - and was about a third weaker in alcohol strength than wine is toda
It was also common in Tudor times during festivals and celebrations for wine to be run through public fountains in a show of the monarch's largesse to the population, most of whom would normally have drunk beer. One such occasion was the coronation of Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII's six wives, in 1533.
Dr Rawlinson added: 'Hampton Court was a pleasure palace for Henry VIII, where guests were entertained with spectacular revels and festivities, and wine and beer were drunk in enormous quantities, as evidenced by the great cellars that still survive here.
'With the restoration of Base Court, and the introduction of our magnificent wine fountain, palace visitors can join a centuries-old tradition and raise a glass to King Henry.'
Henry VIII seized Hampton Court from Cardinal Wolsey in 1528 as the doomed Lord Chancellor failed in his attempts to gain a papal annulment of the king's marriage to his first wife, Katherine Of Aragon.
Henry then spent £62,000 - £18million at today's prices - building the likes of the Great Hall and a Royal tennis court. Henry's third wife Jane Seymour gave birth to Edward VI at Hampton Court in 1537, and died of post-natal complications 12 days later. Her ghost reputedly haunts one of the stairways. Henry VIII died in 1547 at the age of 55
Wine from the fountain, costing £3.50 per glass of red or white, will be available from Saturday between 3.45-4.45pm on weekends and bank holidays.
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