Home World News France to loan Bayeux Tapestry to Britain

France to loan Bayeux Tapestry to Britain

The Bayeux Tapestry is set to be displayed in Britain after France agreed in principle to the historic artwork leaving the country for the first time in 950 years, UK media say.

Tactical Talk – As the story goes, before Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation, Britain asked France if it might borrow the storied Bayeux Tapestry. The answer was no. Heinrich Himmler was also unsuccessful in transferring it to Nazi Germany. The 220-foot-long tapestry, which is on permanent display in Bayeux, France, has not left that country in some 950 years. That looks set to change. Multiple outlets are reporting that upon his arrival in the UK Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron will announce that the tapestry will be loaned to England, though not for a few years and only if tests show the 11th-century tapestry—which details the Norman Conquest of England, complete with King Harold dying with an arrow in his eye—can be safely moved.

There is some speculation that the tapestry was actually created in Kent, England, reports the Guardian, and the Times of London writes the decision to loan it “would be a huge gesture towards les Anglais”—and a fraught one, as bright light, extreme temperatures, humidity, and moths could ruin it. The BBC reports a British museum believes it was commissioned in the 1070s by the half-brother of William the Conqueror; the historical trail doesn’t start until 1476, when it appears on an inventory of Bayeux Cathedral. One interesting line of speculation: whether the UK will loan France something equally impressive. One member of parliament suggests temporarily parting with the Rosetta Stone, which was likely uncovered by the French—specifically by soldiers of Napoleon in Egypt.

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Fatima Kajal Manshad is Tactical Talk's Senior UK correspondent, A student at Loughborough University and Researcher.


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