The most well-travelled monarch in history has always had a soft spot for the Maltese Islands, where she lived between 1949 and 1951.
As Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II has visited countless countries during her reign, and is even considered to be the most well-travelled monarch in history. Yet while she’s visited some countries time and again (racking up an impressive 27 visits to Canada, for example), she’s always had a soft spot for Malta, where she lived for two years with Prince Philip as newlyweds.
Malta is thought to be her favourite country, reveals the Daily Express – as “the only place where she felt she could live without the pressure of being next in line to the throne.” It’s also the only foreign country the Queen has ever called home.
During her time in Malta, the then-princess resided at Villa Guardamangia, formerly known as Casa Medina, in Pieta. Her new husband, Prince Philip, was stationed on the island as a Navy officer, and according to Lady Pamela, one of the Queen’s bridesmaids, “the Princess really loved Malta because she was able to lead a normal life, wander through the town and do some shopping,” which must have been bliss for someone who was to feel the full weight of her new position so soon afterwards.
“It was the only place that she was able to live the life of a naval officer's wife, just like all the other wives… it was wonderful for her and it's why they have such a nostalgia for Malta.”
Since then, the Queen has been back to Malta a few times: for a state visit in 1992, for her diamond anniversary in 2007, and most recently, for a Commonwealth meeting in 2015.
Curious about Queen Elizabeth II’s life in Malta? Check out historical drama TV show The Crown, which covers this period and offers amazing insight into the monarch’s life at the time. Sadly though, none of it was shot on her beloved Maltese Islands!