Queen Elizabeth II travelled around the world during her reign, both representing the UK abroad and for leisure purposes. Yet it was during her early years of marriage to the late Prince Philip that she spent some “magical” years in Malta, solidifying the Mediterranean island as a home away from home.
In October 1949 Prince Philip was sent to the British naval base on Malta, where he was promoted to lieutenant commander and took charge of his first ship HMS Magpie.
At this time, the Queen had not yet ascended to the throne and was able to join Prince Philip for some time.
This meant she was free to join Charles in Malta, and enjoy some relaxation and newfound “freedom”.
Speaking in the documentary The Royal House of Windsor author Phillip Eade said: “She could for the first time do more or less what she wanted.
“She could be like a normal young woman. She could go to the hairdresser on her own.
“She could drive around the island. She could go to restaurants with her husband, go on picnics, and all the while the Maltese people left them alone. “And so Malta, for her, represented a great feeling of freedom.”
One of her longest stints spent in Malta was for 11 weeks.
Lady Pamela Hicks, who was a close confidante of the royal, once said in an interview with MailOnline: “They were magical days of endless picnics, sunbathing and waterskiing.
“The Princess really loved Malta because she was able to lead a normal life, wander through the town and do some shopping.”
She added: “It was the only place that she was able to live the life of a naval officer’s wife, just like all the other wives.”
In these, he details Queen Elizabeth’s love of twirling on the dance floor.
He wrote: “She dances quite divinely and always wanted to Samba when we danced together and has said some very nice things about my dancing.”
Sadly, the “magical” days were soon to come to an end.
As Elizabeth’s father grew increasingly ill, she and her husband were forced to return to England to undertake important duties.
Philip retired from active naval appointments in July 1951, leaving the Royal Navy “on indefinite leave”.