Dilapidated former home of Queen and Prince Philip in Malta to undergo multi-million pound restoration. The 18th century villa, where the couple lived between 1949 and 1951, will become a museum.
The garden is overgrown, the walls are collapsing and the stonework is crumbling, but a dilapidated 18 room townhouse in Malta where a young Prince Philip once lived with the then Princess Elizabeth is undergoing a multi-million pound restoration, having been acquired by the Maltese government last June.
Villa Guardamangia, on the outskirts of the Maltese capital Valletta, is to be returned to how it looked when it was home to the royal couple in what they said was one of the happiest periods of their lives. At the time, the Duke of Edinburgh was serving on board HMS Magpie, part of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet.
The restoration, expected to take at least five years, will enable it to be opened as a museum and underscores the connection between the royal family and Malta, which gained independence in 1964.
The ground floor of the limestone villa will contain exhibitions depicting the relationship between Malta and Britain while the first floor will feature a reconstruction of how the house looked when it was home to the young couple from 1949 to 1951.
Their time on the island was one of their few opportunities to savour a relatively normal life - all that would change when the princess’s father, George VI, died in 1952 and she was crowned Queen a year later.