“She was very friendly” – Photographer’s memories of Queen’s visits to Malta

Photos and video footage are the only memories we have of the first visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Malta more than 60 years ago. Most of these photos were taken by  Frank Attard, who has followed the Queen every time she came to Malta.

Frank Attard, who has been a photographer with the Times of Malta for more than 50 years, was present every time Queen Elizabeth II visited Malta – both on state visits as well as private ones.

Frank Attard says that out of the hundreds of photos he took of the Queen – his favourite is the one he took at Bighi where the Queen is seen with a woman wearing the traditional Maltese għonnella.

“This photo with the ghonnella was also used by Malta Stamps,” says Mr Attard.

The veteran photographer has continued to treasure every photo he has of the British Royal family – including that of the Queen’s children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, when they were young.

“This is the one I took at Delimara. Prince Charles and Princess Anne are playing in the sea with Lord Louis Mountbatten”.

Frank Attard says that when he met Prince William last year during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Malta’s independence, he had taken this photo of his father to show it to him.

“While I was speaking to him I took out an envelope with the photos of Prince Charles at the age of four, and Prince William was so pleased to see photos of his father at that age,” says the photographer.

Frank Attard said that he has had many opportunities to speak with the Queen personally. He said that at certain occasions he was the only official photographer of the Queen.

“My photos would then be distributed to the other newspapers. Even British newspapers used to come and use our photos as they did not have permission to be at the event.”

He describes the Queen as a very lovely woman, especially when she was in her prime.

“She was so friendly even when I went to Villa Guardamangia, where I went twice. I used to try and go to as many events as I could manage,” said Frank Attard.

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