The Bayeux tapestry will be loaned to Britain after Emmanuel Macron agreed to let it leave France for the first time in 950 years.
“This would be a major loan, probably the most significant ever from France to the UK. It is a gesture of extraordinary generosity and proof of the deep ties that link our countries. The Bayeux tapestry is of huge importance, as it recounts a crucial moment in British and French history, 1066.”
If the tapestry does come to the UK, it raises the question of what reciprocal loan could be made to France, with the Rosetta Stone, originally in French hands until Britain defeated the French in Egypt in 1801, a likely contender.
The tapestry is thought to have been made shortly after the Battle of Hastings in the 11th century. Some historians argue it was made in Kent, a debate that is set to reignite following the announcement.
The first written record of it is in 1476 when it was recorded in the Bayeux Cathedral treasury as “a very long and narrow hanging on which are embroidered figures and inscriptions comprising a representation of the conquest of England”.