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Bayeux Tapestry loan 'very significant': British PM

2 min

London (AFP)

Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday it was "very significant" that the Bayeux Tapestry will be loaned to Britain from France, more than 950 years after the Norman conquest of England it depicts.

French President Emmanuel Macron will offer to loan Britain the famed embroidery recounting the 1066 conquest during his visit to see May on Thursday.

"It is very significant that the Bayeux Tapestry is going to be coming to the UK and that people are going to be able to see this," May told lawmakers in parliament's lower House of Commons.

The fragile artwork, which dates from around 1077, depicts the Battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror, the duke of Normandy, defeated English forces in southern England.

May acknowledged that members of parliament representing the seaside town of Hastings, and neighbouring Battle inland, where the clash took place, were keen to host the tapestry in their constituencies.

"I'm sure we will be looking very carefully to ensure the maximum number of people can take benefit from seeing this tapestry," May said.

The 70-metre-long (230-foot) artwork would not move to Britain before 2020 as it is due for major restoration work.

While no decision has been taken on where to display it in the UK, the British Museum in London has said it would be thrilled to host the Bayeux Tapestry.

"We would be honoured and delighted to display it at the British Museum, the UK's most visited and internationally respected institution," its director Hartwig Fischer said.

"Here it would be seen by the widest UK and international audience in the context of a museum of world cultures.

"This would be a major loan, probably the most significant ever from France to the UK."

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