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Inside Malta home where Queen and Prince Philip spent ‘happiest years of life’

Prince Philip is to be honoured on the island of Malta by turning the dilapidated mansion he Queen once called home into a museum.

Villa Guardamangia, on the outskirts of the capital Valletta, is to be returned to its state when it was home to the royal couple in what they said was one of the happiest periods of their lives.

The ground floor of the 18th-century limestone villa will contain exhibitions depicting the relationship between Britain and Malta, which gained independence in 1964.

The first floor will feature a reconstruction of how the house looked when it was home to the young couple from 1949 to 1951, while the duke served on HMS Chequers with the Mediterranean Fleet.

Villa Guardamangia interior
Villa Guardamangia is a palazzo-style residence on the outskirts of the capital Valletta

The restoration is expected to take at least five years,

Heritage Malta – the country’s national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage – is in the preliminary stages of restoring the mid-18th century building to its former glory after acquiring it in June last year.

Heritage Malta’s chief operating officer, Kenneth Gambin, said there was “a feeling of sadness” on the island after Philip’s death.

He said: “He was remembered fondly, because everyone knew that Malta had a special place in his heart.

Villa Guardamangia
A young Philip and the then-Princess Elizabeth spent some of the early years of their marriage living here

Villa Guardamangia
It will now become a museum

“People remain somewhat attached to him because they know that he remembered Malta fondly. He took every opportunity to come here again when he could.”

The royal husband and wife’s stay in Malta offered them their only real taste of life as a relatively ordinary couple before the Queen’s ascension to the throne.

They had the freedom to enjoy parties, picnics and boat expeditions, and the princess was even able to take a trip to the hairdressers for the first time.

Villa Guardamangia
Prince Philip died on Friday aged 99

Villa Guardamangia
His funeral will take place on Saturday

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The future Queen split her time between the island and England, where a young Prince of Wales remained with his grandparents, leaving Malta for a time in 1950 to give birth to Princess Anne.

The agency describes it as “a national treasure” and “a classic Baroque example of a summer palace”.

It is thought Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten – who was also once a tenant at the villa, introduced it to the royal couple.



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