Président de la République Française Emmanuel Macron has agreed to loan the Bayeux Tapestry to the ancestral enemy: the English. The 70-meter-long tapestry will leave France for the first time in 950 years!
The year was 1066. One William, Duke of Normandy felt he was the rightful heir to the English throne after the death of Edward the Confessor. But it was Harold Godwinson who was the right man on the right place at the right time who was crowned. William couldn’t let this happen and invaded Albion. At Hastings he fought and killed Harold. William became King of England.
All future monarchs of the realm would be more or less direct descendants of William.
The Tapisserie de Bayeux is said to be made by Mathilda of Flanders, Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England. That’s probably not completely true, but its nice to have a Belgian (avant la lettre) touch to the story.
Anyway. You can read all about it on Wikipedia or watch the trilogy ‘1066: A Year to Conquer England‘.
Fast forward a millennium. In 2017 four Belgian civil servants decide to spend a few days in Normandy to have tasty food, good wine, see the war beaches and contemplate a medieval tapestry. Frank, Steve, Nicolas and I did all that.We actually stayed in Bayeux, a small quaint town in the duchy.
Visiting the Tapestry certainly was a highpoint. It’s one of those artifacts which shape history and speak to the imagination. Like the Rosetta Stone, which I also saw in 2017.
The tapestry reads like a comic. I bought a comic version of the tapestry. Of course I don’t know where it is. The Bayeux Museum displays it modestly. The story is enough. It’s 1066 in a nutshell, it’s Haley’s Comet, it’s the Conquest of Britain.
Visiting Bayeux and the tapestry is absolutely “worth the detour” as Michelin would say.