Real rose behind Tudor treasure is finally revealed in Portsmouth

SHE last saw the light of day almost 500 years ago when she sank to the depths of the Solent with the Mary Rose.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 6:00 am
Maritime archaeologist Alex Hildred with the Tudor Rose emblem which was discovered on the wreck of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose Picture: Christopher Ison for the National Museum of the Royal Navy

And now, the rose adorning the doomed Tudor flagship has been unveiled to a global audience in Portsmouth for the first time, after being salvaged from the seabed.

The emblem, which is the earliest figurehead of its kind, was initially thought of as just a nondescript piece of wood when it was recovered.

But after more than a decade of conservation work, the ‘lollipop-shaped’ sculpture was revealed to be the iconic Tudor rose, which would have once blazed with glorious red and white paint to inspire the sailors on Henry VIII’s beloved warship.

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She now stands proudly in the newly-revamped Mary Rose Museum, in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, which reopened yesterday to a record turn-out.

Almost 2,000 people flooded into the museum to view the iconic vessel and the scores of relics recovered from her watery grave.

The museum attracted tourists from across the world, with visitors from as far as Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand paying to experience the ship’s majesty.

Grandmother Shirley Bishop, 74, was with her daughter Alison and eight-year-old grandson Archie while visiting the museum.

She took the trip from Brighton after seeing the Mary Rose on the news.

‘It’s unbelievable to know it had been in the sea all those years and still looks so amazing. It’s awe-inspiring,’ she said.

Australian Joy Taylor, 71, visited the museum with her daughter Lea, 50, as part of their holiday in the UK.

The pair weren’t disappointed by the newly-displayed Tudor treasure.

‘It’s breathtaking. We just love that we’re standing and able to see a piece of history before us.’

Doug Ng travelled from Hong Kong to see the Mary Rose.

The 54-year-old said: ‘It’s fantastic. I think it’s great to be able to see it close and that so much of it has been preserved.’

His 10-year-old son Alexander added: ‘What’s cool about the ship is that you can see that’s it’s a real ship that sank.’

A total of £5.4m was spent on the revamp which gives visitors unparalleled views of the Mary Rose.

Thousands flock to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard

BUMPER numbers of visitors flocked to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard to see the new Mary Rose Museum yesterday.

Attraction bosses say it was their busiest day of the year

It comes after Helen Bonser-Wilton, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said the revamped facility would bring in £30m to the city’s economy over the next year.

A total of 2,500 people visited the site, up 25 per cent on a normal day, with 1,700 stopping at the museum.

‘This is a great start to our summer season,’ said the historic dockyard’s PR manager Jacquie Shaw.