© House of H.M. the King / Borja Photographers
Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias inaugurated the exhibition The last voyage of the Frigate Mercedes, organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Defence and Spanish Cultural Action (AC/E in its Spanish acronym), which will be on show in Madrid until 30 November, both in the Naval Museum (2 Montalbán Street) and in the Archaeological Museum (13 Serrano Street). This exhibition, which collects the patrimony recovered from the frigate Mercedes after the litigation with the treasure hunter company Odyseey, hightlights the importance of the protection of underwater patrimony and shows the historical context of the time and the circumstances of the army ship’s sinking in 1804.
Prince Philip and Princess Letizia visited the first venue of the exhibition in the Naval Museum, with the subtitle “Reason versus plundering”, which presents the characteristics of the construction of Mercedes, its mission, the historical-military context, the circumstances surrounding its sinking and the naval battle, and it shows the work of the Army protecting the underwater patrimony and the value of its historical files to protect the sunken heritage.
Afterwards, the Prince and Princess of Asturias went to the National Archaeological Museum, the second venue of the exhibition. Under the subtitle “A cultural treasure recovered”, the National Archaeological Museum tells the circumstances and the consequences for the time of the frigate’s blowing-up, focusing of the archaeological aspects of the ship’s cargo recovered. With the legal battle started by the Government of Spain against the treasure hunter company Odyssey as a backdrop, the National Archaeological Museum underlines the importance of promoting the defence and the safeguard of the underwater patrimony. Period objects, key historical documents from state files such as, among others, the Indias General Record or the Simancas Record, and more than 30,000 coins, are some of the wonders that can be contemplated in this venue of the exhibition.