The Daily Telegraph

Call for monument to royal couple in Malta

- By Nick Squires in Rome

THERE are calls in Malta to erect a statue of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip based on a cryptic photograph of the couple taken when they lived on the Mediterran­ean island.

The photo was taken when the young couple lived in Villa Guardamang­ia, a grand limestone mansion in the Maltese capital, Valletta.

In it, Prince Philip stands behind the young Princess Elizabeth with two fingers resting on the bench that she is sitting on.

There has long been speculatio­n that the gesture was a coded sign that the princess was pregnant with their second child, Anne.

A historical associatio­n wants a bronze statue to be made of the royal couple, based on the black and white image, and for it to be erected in Hastings Garden, a public park located on top of Valletta’s ancient city walls.

“This woman was the Queen of Malta for 10 years – she was the head of state,” said Simon Cusens, the founder of the Malta George Cross Movement, which promotes interest in Malta during the Second World War, when the island was collective­ly awarded the George Cross for its bravery in resisting a long siege by Axis forces.

“Her father awarded us the George Cross, her reign over Malta saw a boom in the shipyard economy, and she did not simply rule over the country – she lived in it,” Mr Cusens told the Times of Malta.

“She was a resident of Malta – a period which, she confessed, was one of the most beautiful in her life.

“These are all undeniable historical facts. So yes, of course she deserves a monument. I cannot think of a more illustriou­s person… that would deserve a monument more than she does.”

He pointed out that there is a statue of Queen Victoria in a central square in Valletta, “and she never lived here”.

The couple lived in Malta for several months between 1949 and 1951, when Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy’s Mediterran­ean Fleet.

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