Queen's former home in Malta to become tourist attraction

  25 October 2019    Read: 2859

The Queen described her two years at Villa Guardamangia, a few miles from Malta's capital, as among the happiest in her life.

The Maltese government has bought a property in Malta once home to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

Villa Guardamangia was a royal residence while Philip served on HMS Chequers with the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet between 1949 and 1951.

Those early years of marriage were perhaps the closest the couple got to "normal life" before the Queen's coronation in 1953.

She once described her years there as among the happiest in her life.

The Maltese government plans to make the home, which is two miles from Malta's capital Valletta, into a tourist attraction.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the news in parliament this week and said the building would be restored as part of its transformation.

Villa Guardamangia, a six-bedroom palazzo-style mansion, is in a dilapidated state, with gardens overgrown and the exterior faded since its royal days.

But it has grand potential, with a large living room, sea views, a roof terrace, three bathrooms and guest and servant quarters.

It was built in 1900 on a hill overlooking Malta's second harbour of Marsamxett and covers 1,560sqm.

The home's previous owners, a private family, put it up for sale in June for around €6m (£5.2m). The final purchase price has not been revealed.

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