The love story of Queen Elizabeth II in Malta – Most beautiful years of the princess?Prince Phillip was stationed in Malta as an officer of the Royal Navy. Queen Elizabeth II., then Princess Elizabeth and Duchess of Edinburgh, lived in Villa Guardamangia in Pietà on Malta between November 1949 and 1951. For the princess, these were fairytale days with endless picnics, sunbathing and water-skiing in Malta. In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Malta.
How did Queen Elizabeth II come to Malta?The couple lived near the Maltese capital for two years between 1949 and 1951. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, was stationed as a naval officer on HMS Magpie. Malta was an important strategic base for the Allies against the Axis powers around Nazi Germany during World War II. The three sisters of Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark were involved with high-ranking officers and nobles of the German Wehrmacht. On September 2, 1950, at the age of 29, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip became the captain of HMS Magpie. The anchorage was at the Three Cities in Senglea (towns and sights in Malta).
Why was Princess Elizabeth the heir to the throne and not your uncle Edward VIII?King Edward VIII abdicated in the first royal year before the official coronation in 1936 (abdicated). Edward married the previously divorced American Wallis Simpson. They went into exile in France. Thus, surprisingly, Prince Albert became king. His self-chosen sovereign name was King George VI. The “insignificant” ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth became heir to the throne at the age of 10, after her father King George VI became king. Elizabeth was older than sister Margaret.
Was Princess Elizabeth working in Malta?Elizabeth is said to have worked for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) at the Auberge de Castile. Princess Elizabeth, as Queen Elizabeth II, became the Patron of SSAFA (Patron of SSAFA), a charity of the Royal Armed Forces, from 1952. As a member of the royal family, her work at SSAFA was her second “civilian” job. During World War II, she trained as a mechanic with the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1945, she worked honorably with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). This also sets Queen Elizabeth apart: not only was she a participant in a Royal Scout troop and Sea Rangers (Sea Scouts). Princess Elizabeth is the first member of the royal family to serve full-time in the military.Malta was part of the British Commonwealth of Nations until 1964. Princess Elizabeth thus became the Queen of Malta and head of the Commonwealth of Nations upon coronation.
Was Malta the first marital residence of Princess Elizabeth?
How big was the Villa Guardamangia?According to publicly available data, the palazzo-style Villa Guardamangia has a total area of 1,560 sqm. The garden with fountain has an area of 930 sqm. This leaves for
- living room,
- dining room,
- six bedrooms,
- three bathrooms,
- 2 garages,
- Air raid shelter
What is the history of Villa Guardamangia?The building was one of the first buildings after the victory against the Ottomans to be built outside the fortification walls of a fort or Valletta. The property is located near St. Luke’s Hospital, built by a Spanish knight. A priest lived there until about 1814, before the property and its 900 square metre garden passed to the family of Sir Augustus Bartolo. He gave the farmhouse the name Casa Medina. How Lord Louis Mountbatten came to own Casa Medina and when it was sold is disputed. The Times of Malta writes that Casa Medina was bought by Lord Mountbatten as early as 1929 and owned until the 1950s. Other sources think that the publisher and politician Joseph Schembri bought the Villa Guardamangia in the 1940s. Then Joseph Schembri would have rented the villa to Lord Louis Mountbatten until 1954. Everyone agrees: his nephew Prince Philip became Lord Mounbatten’s tenant for two years, whether as his subtenant or main tenant.
Can Villa Guardamangia in Pietà be visited?Unfortunately, Villa Guardamangia received little attention from the Maltese government for decades. In general, Malta’s government has placed other priorities and given little importance to cultural heritage.The Commonwealth Summit 2015 brings movement for cultural heritageFor the 2015 Commonwealth Summit, the theme of Villa Guardamangia called The Telegraph to the memory of the British and Maltese. At the end of 2019, the government bought the villa from co-owner and resident Marika Schembri and her siblings (source The Telegraph). She asked for circa €6 million through an estate agent, according to press reports. How much the state of Malta paid is not known. Probably less. Otherwise, the Maltese government would have bought earlier.
Queen Elisabeth is not allowed to visit Villa GuardamangiaThus, on the 60th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2007, there was a scandal. The owners’ association around Marika Schembri refused to allow the Queen to visit Villa Guardamangia for the diamond wedding. The owners certainly had good reasons for this. Since about 2020, the Villa Guardamangia can be visited. Possibly not at any time. In 2021 and also in 2022 some guided tours and at least one open day took place. The person in charge is Heritage Malta, Chief Operations Officer Kenneth Gambin.
What is the condition of Villa Guardamangia?The condition of the Villa Guardamangia after Marika Schembri moved out with her siblings can be seen in the gallery. The brickwork is crumbling, the paint on the overpainted royal wallpaper is peeling, the shutters are falling apart, the iron fittings are rusting and weeds are overgrowing the garden. This is how someone leaves a house when the new owner is supposed to be annoyed. The government’s plan: the villa will be reconstructed and renovated by 2027. In 2022 there is not much to be seen of it. The European TV station RTL already wrote in 2020: Queen Villa is rotting away in Malta. A commission of experts estimates the costs of the “Villa Guardamangia Museum” at up to 10 million euros. Villa Guardamangia has the potential to be a major tourist attraction.The owners did not seem interested in caring for their multi-million euro treasure and Maltese cultural asset. There was a suspicion that the owners’ association deliberately let the house fall into disrepair so that it could be sold most biddably to a developer for the construction of luxus apartments. Source: The Telegraph
What should Villa Guardamangia look like after restoration?An exhibition is planned for the first floor of Villa Guardamangia. It will show the centuries of relationship between Malta and Britain, as well as the life of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Malta. The first floor of the museum will be historically reconstructed.
What traces did Queen Elizabeth II leave in Malta?Queen Elizabeth visited Malta frequently. In 1967 she met with President Anthony Mamo. She attended a ceremony to dedicate a monument to British Admiral Sir Alexander Ball.In 2007, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Malta. A great honor for Malta. They wanted to visit their (decayed) residence. As of 2022, the villa looks like it did after the Axis bombing raids around Germany. The owners’ association around Marika Schembri refused the request for a visit. For some people, one can only be ashamed. In 2015 Queen Elisabeth came to Malta for her last Commonwealth summit. She is also said to have asked for a visit for those days, which was also turned down. The villa is to serve the public as a museum after restoration.The Queen her last participation in a Commonwealth meeting took place in Malta in 2015. The Commonwealth includes 56 voluntary, independent and equal countries with 2.5 billion people. The Commonwealth’s roots go back to the British Empire. Malta has been a member since 1964.
A memorial plaque in Valletta for the Queen ElizabethOn the bridge in front of City Gate there is a commemorative plaque in honor of the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. She last visited Malta in November 2015. The plaque shows the stops along the way that Elizabeth II passed through Valletta in 2015.
FAQs - Do you have questions about the Queen's stay in Malta? We give you the answers!
Prince Philip and Princess Elisabeth first lived in San Anton Palace. Later they moved to Casa Guardamangia (Villa Guardamangia, previously Casa Medina). On an area of 1,560 square meters is the large townhouse in Pietà. The building, built in Baroque style in the 18th century, was inhabited by a priest after a Spanish Knight of Malta.
- Lord Mountbatten introduced the couple in 1939.
- Princess Elisabeth was immediately in love.
- The couple did not find each other until 1946.