Prince marks Mary Rose milestone

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PRINCE Harry spoke of his pride in following in his father’s footsteps as he marked a new milestone in the history of the Mary Rose.

His dad Prince Charles famously dived on the wreckage in the Solent 30 years ago.

ALL SMILES The Prince has a laugh with St John's Catholic School pupils at the current Mary Rose museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

ALL SMILES The Prince has a laugh with St John's Catholic School pupils at the current Mary Rose museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

And yesterday Prince Harry laid the first stone of a new £35m museum for the ship.

He said: ‘I am delighted to be able to mark another milestone today in the extraordinary history of the Mary Rose.

‘This Foundation Stone...moves us a step closer to turning the vision and hard work of so many over the past 30 years – some might say 500 years – into reality.

‘I would like to acknowledge the long-standing support for this project of my father, The Prince of Wales. I am so pleased to be building – quite literally – on his good work of so many years.’

GREETING The Prince meets the public

GREETING The Prince meets the public

The new museum, which will host the Mary Rose and 60 per cent of the treasured collection, is due to open by Autumn next year.

The Prince added: ‘I wish every success to the volunteers and world leading experts, who are working towards the completion of the new Mary Rose Museum.’

Almost 500 years to the day the Tudor warship was launched at Portsmouth Dockyard, the Prince examined artefacts from the ship and met supporters huddled outside in the rain.

The Prince was presented with the first of 1511 Mary Rose £2 coins produced by the Royal Mint and added a personal letter to a time capsule to be buried at the mew museum.

No-one will know what the sealed note says until the capsule is dug up in 50 years.

The Prince then moved to the site next to HMS Victory, where the new museum will be to meet staff from builders, Warings.

Stooping to hammer in the foundation stone, he quipped: ‘What if it cracks?’

The Prince also met with museum volunteers, including four divers from the 1982 excavation who are still working for the Mary Rose Trust.

He asked them: ‘So you must know my father? I hope he didn’t get in the way.’

Christopher Dobbs, 53, of Rowlands Castle, who dived on the wreck with Prince Charles five times, said: ‘The Prince of Wales has always been a big supporter ever since those early days. It’s fantastic his son is here taking such an interest in it too.’

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