The links between Queen Elisabeth II and Malta go back to 1949 when Prince Philip was a Lieutenant on HMS Chequers, which at the time was stationed in Malta.
The Queen has on more than one occasion described the time spent in Malta as one of the best moments in her life. She says that she could live a normal life in Malta, away from the pressure of her public life.
The Queen visited Malta on the second anniversary of her marriage with Prince Philip when she already had her first child – Prince Charles.
At that time, the Queen used to live in a Gwardamanġia house near St Luke’s Hospital. In the house known as Villa Gwardmanġia, the Queen – who at the time was Princess Elisabeth – used to invite the wives of other officers and used to go to a hairdresser in the same locality.
Although he never spoke to her personally, Ġużeppi Formosa, who today is 90 years old and lives in Pieta’, remembers the time the Queen used to live a few metres away from his home.
“I remember she used to live in this house, Villa Gwardamanġia. I also remember that once I read in The Times that she loved going to the movies at Sliema”.
“She was much loved here, people used to wait to wave to her, she would respond back waving her hand. I also remember him 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”.
Ġużeppi recounts that he once saw Princess Elisabeth at Tal-Pieta’ accompanied with someone else. “She used to love Malta and till today she remained in love with the island. She was well respected her”, he said.
Ġuzeppi Formosa added that the area’s residents were proud that the Queen felt being one of them. “They were proud that she came to live here!”