King Henry V’s sword formed the centrepiece of a ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey on Thursday to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, one of England’s greatest-ever victories. The battle on October 25, 1415 saw a heavily-outnumbered English army — led by Henry — inflict a catastrophic defeat on the French, altering the course of the Hundred Years’ War. Thursday’s celebrations coincided with the 600th anniversary of news of the victory reaching London. William Shakespeare immortalised the battle in 1599 play ‘Henry V’, and his words were read during the service by 90-year-old actor Robert Hardy, who played the king in 1960. The play’s battle speeches have become part of the modern lexicon, including ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends’, ‘we happy few, we band of brothers’,

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