On 19 July 1545, King Henry VIII watched in horror while his 36-year-old flagship the HMS Mary Rose suddenly capsized during the Battle of the Solent. The warship at that point had served for 34 years in the Tudor Navy, leading the attack in wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany. During the Battle of the Solent, the English were becalmed in Portsmouth Harbor off Southsea Castle and unable to maneuver when the French fleet advanced. The Mary Rose suddenly heeled to starboard, and water poured through the open gunports. She went down between the invading French fleet and the huge English carrack Henri Grace á Dieu. Of her crew of nearly 500 men, perhaps 30 survived.
History retains only one eyewitness account of her sinking: a surviving Flemish crewman told an ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor that the ship had fired her starboard guns and was turning to fire from port when she was caught in a strong gust of wind and capsized. Later accounts name insubordination of the crew, instability, and French guns as the reason for her demise.