This week, Queen Elizabeth II, will have reigned for more than 63 years, becoming the longest reigning British monarch since Queen Victoria, her great, great, grandmother.
Queen Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, have a long and happy relationship with the Maltese Islands. As a young newlywed, the Princess Elizabeth as she then was, lived a relatively normal life in Malta, mainly out of the public eye between 1949 and 1951. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was based in Malta as a naval officer with the Mediterranean Fleet, whilst serving on HMS Chequers.
During their time in Malta, the couple lived in the beautiful Villa Guardamangia, a house leased and later purchased, by Lord Louis Mountbatten. Earlier this year, there was an outcry over the current condition of Villa Guardamangia. The villa, which was built in 1900 and is situated in Pieta, on the outskirts of Valletta, will once again be the centre of public attention in November. It is a privately owned residence, which has fallen into a sorry, dilapidated state. Many have argued, that the villa is an important part of modern Maltese heritage, as it is the only property outside of the UK, in which a reigning British monarch has called home. The controversy forced the Maltese government to issue a statement confirming that they are negotiating the purchase of the villa and will undertake extensive renovations to preserve it as an important part of Maltese heritage.
The Queen has continued to maintain her affection for Malta, visiting in 2007 to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary, and sending Prince William to represent her last year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Maltese Independence. In November, they will once again visit Malta to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Valletta. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will accompany them during the visit.