Follow in The Queen’s footsteps around Malta
It’s no secret that The Queen holds a special place in her heart for Malta.
It’s the only place she’s ever lived in outside of the UK and it’s also the only place where she felt she could lead a normal life away from the stresses and strict rules of the royal family.
The Queen, as well as being head of the Commonwealth, was also Queen of Malta from 1964 to 1974.
If you’re in Malta and would like to follow in Her Majesty’s footsteps, here are some ideas:
1. San Anton Palace
When The Queen comes to Malta, she stays at San Anton Palace in Attard.
San Anton was the birthplace of another royal, Princess Victoria Melita.
Queen Victoria’s granddaughter was born at the palace in 1876 and named Melita in Malta’s honour.
Her father was Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The San Anton Palace is today home to the President of Malta.
2. Villa Guardamangia
The Queen lived in this once-magnificent villa as a young princess.
This was during her early years of marriage, when the Duke of Edinburgh was a naval officer stationed in Malta on HMS Chequers from 1949 to 1951.
The grand home was rented by the Duke’s uncle, the former Viceroy of India, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, at the time.
The villa, near Pieta Creek, allowed them the sort of carefree existence denied to them ever since the Queen’s accession.
3. Malta’s Grand Harbour
The Queen arrived in the Grand Harbour on the royal yacht Britannia when she visited Malta in 1954 during her Commonwealth tour.
She told the crowds gathered to see her that ‘though among the smallest in size, Malta takes an honoured place among the countries we have visited.
‘Indeed, throughout all the nations of the Commonwealth and of the whole world, the memory of her heroic stand during the war is still fresh.’
The Grand Harbour was the base for the Knights of St John for 268 years, and after their departure became a strategic base for the Royal Navy for a further 170 years.
During her 1954 visit to Malta, The Queen unveiled of the Memorial to the Air Forces of the Commonwealth in Floriana.
During her visit to Malta in 1967, roofs, balconies and windows were crowded as the Queen of Malta was driven through Kingsway to the Palace.
She told the huge crowd: ‘Things have changed since I was here last, and this time it is my particular pleasure to be here as Queen of Malta.’
Highlights in the programme included the State Opening of Parliament by the Queen of Malta, the presentation of new colours to the King’s Own Malta Regiment, a tour of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
The Queen and the Duke also made an appearance at Manoel Theatre, a visit to the new University of Malta campus at Tal-Qroqq and the laying of the foundation stone of the new hospital in Gozo.
The Queen and the Duke’s last Malta trip was in 2015 and was one of the most emotional overseas visits of her life.
Not only did they revisit some of their old haunts, including the Grand Harbour, Marsa Race Course and Fort St Angelo, but the Queen publicly admitted that ‘Malta will always be very special to me’.
She added: ‘With each visit here I am reminded why Malta was awarded the George Cross in 1942 by my father for her valour – the first and only time it has been awarded to a country rather than an individual.
‘Since my first experience of Malta in 1949 as a young woman, I have seen this country evolve into a strong nation which plays an important role on the world stage.
‘When Prince Philip and I returned in November 2007 at the time of our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, we could not help but be impressed by the progress and the sense of optimism.
‘I remember happy days here with Prince Philip when we were first married, and the wonderful official visits over the past 60 years.’