Inside look at Malta villa where Queen and Prince Philip lived in 1949

A throne fit for the Queen: Royal toilet, bathroom and bedroom are revealed in Maltese villa where Her Majesty and Prince Philip lived as newlyweds in 1949

  • Sprawling Villa Guardamangia was acquired by Maltese government last year
  • A restoration is expected to take at least five years before it becomes a museum
  • First floor will look like when it was home to Queen and Philip from 1949 to 1951

The Queen is said to have loved it because it was a home not a palace, a place where she and Prince Philip were able to live a relatively normal life.

Now rare images of her private bathroom and bedroom in the Villa Guardamangia in Malta, where the couple lived when they were first married between 1949 and 1951 – and the only home Her Majesty has known outside Britain, have been revealed.

Historian Bettany Hughes was allowed to film inside the property, which has fallen into disrepair but has been acquired by the Maltese government for restoration, for an episode of her TV series Treasures of the World.

In the Channel 4 show, she goes through the mid-18th century limestone house’s front door with its brass dolphin knockers to explore what she calls the Queen and Philip’s ‘romantic hideaway’ and a ‘hidden wonder’ of the Mediterranean island.

The villa had six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a grand hall and servants’ quarters, as well as separate apartments for the Queen, who was then Princess Elizabeth, and Philip, who was stationed in Malta as an officer of the Royal Navy (Pictured: Presenter Bettany Hughes exploring the villa)

Entering the Queen’s yellow private bathroom, in which a broken lavatory can be seen, Hughes says: ‘This is a corner where I feel I’m poking about a little bit too much.’

Historian Bettany Hughes (pictured) was allowed to film inside the property, which has fallen into disrepair but has been acquired by the Maltese government for restoration, for an episode of her TV series Treasures of the World

Despite having been empty for years and barely used since the royal couple left, Hughes describes the villa, with its high ceilings and shuttered windows, as ‘hauntingly romantic’.

The villa had six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a grand hall and servants’ quarters, as well as separate apartments for the Queen, who was then Princess Elizabeth, and Philip, who was stationed in Malta as an officer of the Royal Navy.

Entering the Queen’s yellow private bathroom, in which a broken lavatory can be seen, Hughes says: ‘This is a corner where I feel I’m poking about a little bit too much.’

She also walks round the Queen’s old bedroom, noting that it has a fireplace which was ‘very unusual for Malta at the time’.

The villa, in a narrow street at the top of a hill outside the capital Valetta, was rented in 1929 to Philip’s uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, who made it available to the royal couple.

The Queen and Prince Philip outside their Maltese villa in 1950

Elizabeth went to the two-storey Guardamangia – the name translates as `look and eat’- in November, 1949 to join Philip, then a first lieutenant on the warship Chequers.

In the documentary, Hughes says the princess had a footman, a lady in waiting, and a detective.

She did perform some royal duties in Malta such as touring military installations, cutting ceremonial ribbons and visiting bursary school, but ‘also got to be just an ordinary woman.’

She had lunch with officers’ wives, sunbathed, had her hair done in salons and ‘sometimes, we’re told, she even handled her own money.’

The royal couple left Malta for the birth of their second child, Princess Anne, in August 1950, but they were back by Christmas.

After Philip took command of the frigate Magpie, the couple spent three blissful months at Guardamangia until February 1951.

In the documentary, Hughes (pictured in the villa) says the Princess Elizabeth had a footman, a lady in waiting, and a detective

The royal couple left Malta for the birth of their second child, Princess Anne, in August 1950, but they were back by Christmas (Pictured: Ms Hughes taking a tour of the villa)

The ground floor will contain exhibitions depicting the relationship between Britain and Malta, which gained independence in 1964

The first floor will feature a reconstruction of how the house looked when it was home to the young royal couple from 1949 to 1951 

*Bettany Hughes’ Treasures of the World: Malta, Channel 4, 8pm today (September 4)

When her father George VI’s failing health meant Elizabeth had to fill in for him more and more, they had to return to England.

When they left, Elizabeth described her time in Malta as `the happiest days of my life’. This year is the 70th anniversary of her leaving there.

During a visit to the island in 2015 the Queen said: ‘Visiting Malta is always very special for me. I remember happy days here with Prince Philip when we were first married.’

Her happy years there have also been portrayed in the TV series The Crown.

Earlier this year, plans were revealed for Villa Guardamangia to undergo a multi-million pound restoration with a view to turning it into a museum.

It was acquired by the Maltese government last year. The restoration is expected to take at least five years, after which the house will eventually be opened as a museum.

The ground floor will contain exhibitions depicting the relationship between Britain and Malta, which gained independence in 1964.

The first floor will feature a reconstruction of how the house looked when it was home to the young royal couple from 1949 to 1951.

*Bettany Hughes’ Treasures of the World: Malta, Channel 4, 8pm today (September 4).

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