Princess Diana inspects the Mary Rose in 1982

Diana, Princess of Wales steps out of the car outside Portsmouth Dockyard in 1982.
Diana, Princess of Wales steps out of the car outside Portsmouth Dockyard in 1982.

After the Prince of Wales’ ‘non-stop’ talking about the Mary Rose, his wife decided to make-up her own mind about the £4m project.

Prince Charles was a driving force in his role as president of the Mary Rose Trust.

He had completed 10 dives on the wreck of the Tudor warship and was one of the last people to dive down to the wreck. And the Princess of Wales wanted to find out for herself what all the fuss was about. 

On her arrival in Portsmouth, Princess Diana was raised 25ft in the air for an aerial inspection of the Mary Rose.

‘The princess said Prince Charles never stopped talking about the Mary Rose and she was very impressed by it,’ said Andrew Fielding, the deputy archaeological director.

But within 20 minutes, the Princess had left for a private visit to the trust’s Old Bond Store, in Warblington Street, to be shown recovered artefacts. 

During the 28-minute visit, she took particular interest in many items. She told her guides: ‘Now I can compete with my husband.’ 

Afterwards the princess joined her husband for dinner aboard HMS Victory for the Mary Rose banquet. 

Prince Charles, in naval uniform, congratulated museum staff on their work. 

‘When the Mary Rose was raised I had several letters from people asking how could £4m be spent on this when you could be spending it on the sick and elderly,' said Prince Charles.

‘But I think its important that we preserve interesting parts of our maritime heritage.’