Bayeux Tapestry to go on display in Britain 950 years after the Battle of Hastings

Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the Battle of Hastings. Credit: robertharding/Alamy

Historic artwork showing William the Conqueror’s Norman invasion will be shown in Britain for the first time after a lifetime in France

The Bayeux Tapestry is to go on display in Britain for the first time in 950 years.

France has agreed to lend the artwork to Britain, as long as it can survive the journey.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, is expected to announce the loan at a meeting with Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, on Thursday.

The tapestry is almost 70 metres long. It shows the Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to William the Conqueror’s Norman triumph over England in 1066. It also includes a depiction of King Harold being poked in the eye by an arrow. The images are embroidered on to 20 inch-tall panels of linen.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on show at the Bayeux Museum in France and has only travelled outside the area twice. Napoleon ordered the tapestry to be shown in Paris when he tried to invade England; and the Gestapo took it to the Louvre during the Nazi occupation of France in 1944.

A full-size copy of the tapestry resides in the Reading Museum in Berkshire, but the original has never made it over to Britain.

Experts will make sure the fragile tapestry will not be damaged if it is moved. British visitors will have to wait until 2020 for the tapestry to make the trip across the Channel.