The Queen and Prince Philip’s first marital home in Malta to become a museum after epic restoration project

Lizzie Edmonds and Amira Hashish
·1-min read

A villa in Malta where the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh lived as a newly married couple is set to become a museum after a multi-million-pound restoration.

The dilapidated 18th-century Villa Guardamangia, on the edge of the capital Valletta, was home to the couple between 1949 and 1951, when the Queen was still Princess Elizabeth.

The ground floor will feature exhibitions about the relationship between Britain and Malta, which gained independence in 1964, while the first floor will feature a reconstruction of how it looked when Philip and Elizabeth lived there.

The couple’s stay on the island, when Philip was serving on board HMS Magpie, was one of their few opportunities to enjoy a relatively normal life and it is the only place outside the UK that the Queen has ever called home.

It is said to have been one of the happiest periods of their lives.

Getty Images
Getty Images

They enjoyed a life there that was free from the pressures of royal celebrity and the Princess was known to buzz around the cobbled local streets in a Morris Minor.

All that was soon to change. Her father George VI died in 1952 and Elizabeth was crowned Queen the following year.

Much of the home was built in limestone in the mid-18th century as a summer house.

In 2019 it was acquired for £4.5 million by the Maltese government, with visions of restoring it to its former splendour.