Henry VIII’s fully restored warship opens to the public


Today (19 July)—471 years to the day when the Mary Rose sank with 500 crew on board—the barriers erected during the vessel’s conservation to separate the ship from the public will come down.That people can actually visit the Mary Rose—Henry VIII’s prized warship sunk by the French, just 2km from Portsmouth Harbour, during the Battle of the Solent in 1545—along with its amazingly well-preserved contents is quite extraordinary.

The mere suggestion today of asking divers to tunnel under the wreck so it could be raised, as was done in 1982, would rightfully send health and safety advisers into a tizzy—not to mention the technical difficulties that come with building a museum around the wreck (which is around 35m long), on a Grade I-listed dock, while the vessel is being painstakingly conserved. Add in launching a campaign during a recession to pay for the construction of a museum to replace the 30-year-old “temporary” one and you have a recipe for disaster… Read more

Image: Prince Charles, the president of the Mary Rose Trust, inspects conservation work on Henry VIII’s favourite ship in 2014. He watched the raising of the vessel in 1982P. Photo: Dan Kitwood – WPA Pool /Getty Images