Royal visit to Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum

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Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth yesterday, 38 years after the prince was one of the last people to dive down to the wrecked ship.

Prince Charles and Camilla greeted at the Mary Rose exhibition
Prince Charles and Camilla are greeted at the entrance to the Mary Rose exhibition

Back in 1982, Prince Charles was one of the last people to dive down to the wreck of the doomed Tudor ship Mary Rose, which sank just 2km from the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour in 1545 following 34 years of service as Henry VIII’s flagship. Yesterday the prince returned with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, to see how the final stages of the ship’s conservation project have been coming along since she took her place in a specially designed £36m museum, which opened in May 2013.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall talk to children in period dress at the Mary Rose exhibition
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall talk to children in period dress.

On the royal visit yesterday, Charles spoke of his feelings of diving down to the ship and watching her hull being raised from the seabed of the Solent, and he and the Duchess of Cornwall also looked through some of the 19,000 artefacts found amid the wreckage, which are now reunited with the ship.

Prince Charles and Simon Ware at the Mary Rose exhibition, Portsmouth
Prince Charles and Simon Ware of the Mary Rose Trust
Prince Charles takes aim at Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth
Prince Charles takes aim at Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth

The Prince of Wales, President of the Mary Rose Trust, has been actively involved with the Mary Rose since his first dive on the wreck on 30 July 1975.

Ahead of the visit, Rear Admiral John Lippiett CBE, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Their Royal Highnesses to the Mary Rose and to be able to show them around our new museum. They will meet many of the people who have made the museum project possible.

“His Royal Highness’s personal involvement has been fundamental throughout the project’s history and we look forward to showing him our achievements. We are especially pleased that Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall will be paying her first visit to the Mary Rose.”

The Mary Rose Museum will be showcasing a specially commissioned promenade performance called ‘War Games’ on 5-6 March by local theatre company Cop the Needle Productions, which will consist of four mini-plays that will take place at multiple points around the museum, with scenes imagining characters and events from the day of the sinking of the Mary Rose.

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