London

Henry V 'secret' chapel opened for Agincourt anniversary

Henry V's private chapel Image copyright Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Westminster Abbey is opening Henry's V's chapel - rarely seen by the public - for guided tours to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

The chapel was built within the shrine of Edward the Confessor.

Henry V ordered the chapel's construction so prayers could be said for his soul after he died.

Tours of the chapel, located at the east end of the abbey, will be led by the Dean of Westminster on the eve of the battle's anniversary on 24 October.

Image copyright Dean & Chapter of Westminster
Image caption The view from Henry V's chapel looking out into Westminster Abbey

A public ballot for places will open on Tuesday, with six places available per tour, a spokesman for the Abbey said.

The Battle of Agincourt - source: Melvyn Bragg In Our Time with guests Anne Curry, Professor of Medieval History at Southampton University; Michael Jones, medieval historian and writer; John Watts, Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Corpus Christie College, Oxford

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is thought Henry V's army captured the French battle plan for Agincourt

Henry V ascended the English throne in 1413

The Battle of Agincourt took place on 25 October 1415 in a muddy field in Picardy, northern France, and was just one battle between the English and French in the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)

Henry V had been leading his troops back to Calais when the French blocked his path to the sea in order to engage him in fighting

The English forces secured victory in about three hours

The fame of the battle spread because the French had outnumbered the English fighters, although the exact figure/ratio is disputed

Image copyright Dean & Chapter of Westminster
Image caption Entry to the chapel is gained via uneven spiral steps, worn down from centuries of use

The chapel is not usually open to the public because of its access issues.

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