Henry VIII's flagship secures new hi-tech home

Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:17am EDT
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By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - King Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose, a Tudor time capsule likened to a British Pompeii, has won crucial funding for a hi-tech museum to house the fabled warship and its previously unseen treasures.

One of the first vessels capable of firing a broadside, it went down in the Solent in 1545 during an engagement with the French fleet, with the loss of more than 400 crew.

The sinking is thought to have been an accident, but exactly what happened has vexed British naval historians for years.

Did the ship capsize during a sharp turn when water entered the open gun ports? Was there a fatal lack of understanding between the English officers and the largely foreign crew?

The vessel was spectacularly raised from its watery grave in front of a global audience of some 60 million people in 1982.

What remains of the hull has been on public view behind glass ever since, along with a selection of perfectly preserved artifacts at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on England's southern coast.

It is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world, according to the Mary Rose Trust.

Now the Trust has secured 21 million pounds ($35 million) from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the body which distributes a share of the income from Britain's national lottery to heritage projects.   Continued...

<p>The hull of Henry VIII's fabled Mary Rose warship is seen in this image taken in the 1990s. REUTERS/ Credit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard</p>