The news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is felt across the EC English Language Centres family; least because our roots are in Malta, which holds a special place in the heart of the British monarchy. For centuries, the island has been a popular destination for English royalty, and it is no surprise that Queen Elizabeth II, had such fond memories of her time spent here.
Her great grandmother, Queen Victoria, spent a total of eight weeks on the Mediterranean island of Malta during her lifetime. It was here that she first developed a fondness for the local lace and local oranges, which were often used to make a delicately flavoured liqueur. A statue dedicated to her, where she is draped in lace, adorns the piazza in front of the National Library in Valletta.
Elizabeth’s love affair with Malta began when she was just a young princess. In 1934, she accompanied her parents on a Mediterranean tour aboard the royal yacht Britannia and made her first official visit to Malta. She was instantly enchanted by the island’s beauty and warmth and returned many times over the years.
While stationed in Malta, Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth enjoyed their life as a newly married couple; he, a serving officer in the Royal Navy. The couple had their own private suite of rooms at the British Embassy and a home in Guardamangia and lived a relatively normal life, going on frequent outings to the island’s many beautiful beaches and attractions of the day. Today, there are still Royal clubs in use including a Royal Malta Golf Club, Royal Malta Polo Club and the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
After leaving Malta, the couple returned several times as part of official visits and their time was always remembered fondly by the couple, spending their 60th wedding anniversary with Maltese couples married in the same year.
In 1967, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to visit Malta since King George VI in 1943. She was greeted by huge crowds wherever she went and even planted a tree in the garden of the President’s Palace.
During her most recent visit in 2015, Elizabeth was joined by her husband Prince Philip and their son Prince Charles. The royal family received a warm welcome from the Maltese people, who were eager to show them the best of what their island has to offer. Prince Charles and Prince William have both visited since.
EC, who set up over 30 years ago to enable people to learn English in Malta, sponsored a book celebrating Her Majesty’s life on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.
Thank you Ma’am, you will be sorely missed.