Tributes paid as actor and Mary Rose ambassador Robert Hardy dies aged 91

Alison Jeffery, director of childrens services at Portsmouth City Council, Ella Fitzgerald, ALNS pupil, Charlotte Coqueral, ALNS pupil, Julia Firth, ALNSs director of personal development and John Rolfe, international schools manager for the British Council

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a prolific British actor and ambassador for the Mary Rose Museum.

Robert Hardy – the star of the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small – has died aged 91, his family has confirmed.

Actor and ambassador Robert Hardy at Southsea Castle, on the launch day of the new Mary Rose Museum in 2013. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Actor and ambassador Robert Hardy at Southsea Castle, on the launch day of the new Mary Rose Museum in 2013. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Known as one of the mainstays of British film and television, Mr Hardy was an expert in the history of the longbow and had served as a long-time ambassador for the Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

His knowledge of medieval warfare saw him involved in consultations with Dr Margaret Rule, the archeologist who led the excavation of the Tudor warship in October, 1982.

Chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust Helen Bonser-Wilton, said the late actor was ‘a true English gentleman’ and a ‘master of his craft’.

‘I remember within 24 hours of discovering what we initially thought was a Tudor longbow, Robert was there.

‘He was a massive ambassador for the museum and from the beginning – right up until the reopening last year – he was a pleasure to be around.

‘We are really going to miss him.’

John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, added: ‘We are extremely saddened to hear of Robert’s death.

‘This charming man was not only a great actor, he was a famous Churchill enthusiast and has helped us at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with his huge intellectual knowledge, particularly with regards to longbows.

‘He was of amazing assistance, not just to the Mary Rose, but to everyone’s understanding of the Tudor world.’

A press statement from Hardy’s family said: ‘Dad is also remembered as a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well a highly-respected historian.

‘Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him and everyone who enjoyed his work.’

Mr Hardy was also known for his appearances as Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter film series, alongside his portrayals of Winston Churchill.