A national treasure in its own right and a blue-chip player in British Colonial Malta, Villa Guardamangia is a classic Baroque example of a summer palace.

The building, which was built in the mid-18th century and is located in Pietá, was scheduled at Grade 2 by the Planning Authority due to its architectural, cultural and historical value.

Villa Guardamangia had a special place in the heart of her majesty the late Queen of England. The villa served as the residence of Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) from 1949 to 1951 when her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was stationed in Malta as an officer of the Royal Navy – captain of HMS Magpie which was moored at Senglea. Referred to fondly by the Queen as ‘home’, Villa Guardamangia is the only property outside Great Britain in which the royal family has resided. The Villa has an area of around 1,500 square metres, and includes eighteen rooms, stables, a large garden, wells, a war-shelter/bunker and other facilities.

Villa Guardamangia requires major structural works in order to be able to host a display and accommodate visitors.

The first phase included emergency interventions to consolidate the stability of two sections of the façade over Guardamangia Hill since they were in imminent danger of collapse. Preparations are now in hand to collate the required information for the actual restoration project to start, including an accurate architectural survey of all areas, a laser scan, testing of beams, and the installation of data loggers to provide important environment data to guide future decisions. Students from the University College of London will be assessing the building from a conservation point of view in 2022. In the meantime, a proposal for funding was drafted and a planning application has been submitted for the restoration of the fabric.

It is approximately estimated that the project will cost around €10 million

The first phase will focus on structural and restoration works, while the second will include the finishes and the crafting of an engaging visitor experience. The general plan is for the ground floor to host general visitor amenities and a display focusing on the relations between Malta and Britain through the ages in order to interpret the general context of why Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to Malta in 1949. On the other hand, the first floor will be historically reconstructed as it was when the royal couple resided in it in the mid-20th century. The focus of the display will be on the royal couple’s human experience of Malta.

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