Historic backdrop to Nicolas Sarkozy's speech

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Nicolas Sarkozy will address a rare joint gathering of MPs and peers in Parliament this week surrounded by dramatic images of two of France's greatest military defeats at the hands of the British.

The French president, who is visiting London on Wednesday, will speak in the Royal Gallery. The room is dominated by two large frescoes that stretch along opposite walls, one of Trafalgar, the other of Waterloo.

While not expected to embarrass the president, photographs of his speech will struggle to avoid the backdrop of the works, which were painted by the Irish artist Daniel Maclise in the 19th century.

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