The Bayeux Tapestry is to be displayed in the UK for the first time in almost 1,000 years.
The enormous 230 foot scroll tells the story of the Battle of Hastings (1066) in 50 distinct scenes, from the arrival of the Norman boats on British shores to the killing of King Harold and the routing of the Anglo Saxons.
These days experts are in broad agreement that the tapestry was made in Britain.
It’s thought to have been commissioned by Bishop Odo, brother to William the Conquerer, who took up an earldom in Kent after the invasion.
This is backed up by analyses of the dye and stitching.
Anglo Saxon needlework was famous across Europe for its extraordinary quality.
The tapestry is named for the Bayeux Cathedral, where it’s first listed on an inventory in 1476. Its history prior to that date is unknown.
French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron agreed to lend the piece to the British Museum after extensive restoration work has been carried out.
There’s no firm date, but it’s likely to be around 2020.
While most have taken the gesture as a generous act of diplomacy, others have enjoyed basking in the piquant irony in relation to Britain’s decision to lead the UK.
As ITV’s Robert Peston said on Twitter: “Lending the UK a magnificent depiction of the last time this country was invaded and subjugated is a wonderful Gallic joke”.