The monarch and Prince Philip lived in Villa Guardamangia, which had been leased to Prince Philip’s uncle, the Earl Mountbatten, between 1949 and 1951. At the time the Duke of Edinburgh had been stationed on the island by the Royal Navy, so then-Princess Elizabeth moved there to enjoy a “normal existence” before she had to assume her role as monarch.
The Queen then ascended to the throne in Prince Philip retired from his naval career, but the royal couple have since visited the residence in multiple occasions, including a 1992 state visit.
In 2007 they visited the residence to mark their 60th wedding anniversary.
In an old interview with TVM, local man Guzeppi Formosa described the love of Maltese people for the Queen and Prince Philip.
He said: “She was much loved here, people used to wait to wave to her, she would respond back waving her hand.
“I also remember Prince Philip and his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten who was in India.
“Prince Philip was very smart, he used to drive towards the Drydocks, and he even had trouble when once he nearly hit some persons who were carrying big beams and someone threw an object at him.
“They then prevented him from driving there and gave him a bicycle to avoid trouble.”
The villa, built in 1900, was listed for sale in 2019 by a luxury real estate agency and it is described as a grand Palazzo-style building.
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“She could be like a normal young woman. She could go to the hairdresser on her own.
“She could drive around the island. She could go to restaurants with her husband, go on picnics, and all the while the Maltese people left them alone.
“And so Malta, for her, represented a great feeling of freedom.”
For similar reasons the Queen also enjoys visiting Scotland, where she relocated every year to Balmoral Castle.
In ITV’s documentary Our Queen at 90, Princess Eugenie explained her grandmother’s love of Scotland.