Dr Margaret Rule, CBE was born on 27th September 1928 and led the project that excavated and raised the Tudor warship Mary Rose in 1982.
In 1979 The Mary Rose Trust was formed with HRH Prince Charles as it's president. Margaret Rule now became Archaeological Director, taking operational control of the underwater side of the project.
She has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1995, the National Maritime Museum awarded her its Caird Medal.
The Mary Rose was one of the first ships built during the early years of the reign of King Henry VIII, probably in Portsmouth. She served as Flagship during Henry’s First French War and was substantially refitted and rebuilt during her 36 year long life. The Mary Rose sank in 1545 whilst defending Portsmouth from the largest invasion fleet ever known, estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals and between 150 and 200 vessels. This number is nearly twice the number estimated within the fleet of 1588, latterly known as the Spanish Armada. At this time Mary Rose was the second largest and most heavily armed vessel within the fleet; she carried 91 guns deployed over three decks, her main gun deck carried fourteen large guns including two cannons which fired 64lb cast iron shot. The Mary Rose marks a transition between the use of a vessel to support guns and a vessel built to carry large guns close to the waterline, her structure is undocumented in historical sources and there are no shipwright's plans. The Mary Rose is an extremely important vessel to study in order to understand the evolution of the fighting ship.
In 1965 Alexander McKee started Project Solent Ships and one of the wrecks they hoped to find was the Mary Rose. In 1967 pioneering sidescan and sub-bottom survey work by EG&G and Doc Edgerton found a ‘flattened W’ shaped target in the area where the ship was thought to have sunk. The years 1968-1971 were spent by 'Mad Mac's Marauders' finding proof of the ship's identity with few funds and little resources, success was achieved in 1971 with the discovery of the first three of the ship's frames.
Excavation work between 1979 and 1982 took 28000 dives and 12 man years on the bottom but culminated in the recovery of a large part of the starboard side of the hull. The recovery itself was shown on live television and was watched by 60 million people worldwide.