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Villa Guardamangia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Villa Guardamangia
Villa Guardamangia.jpeg
Former namesCasa Medina
Alternative namesCasa Guardamangia
General information
StatusIntact
TypeVilla
Architectural styleVernacular and Neoclassical
LocationGwardamanġa, Pietà, Malta
Coordinates35°53′32.1″N 14°29′42.2″E / 35.892250°N 14.495056°E / 35.892250; 14.495056
Completed18th century
OwnerSchembri family
Technical details
MaterialLimestone

Villa Guardamangia (Italian – 'look' and 'eat'), formerly known as Casa Medina[1][2] and sometimes referred to as Casa Guardamangia,[3] is a townhouse in Gwardamanġa, Pietà, Malta, which served as the residence of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (later Queen Elizabeth II), and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, between 1949 and 1951, while Philip was stationed in Malta as a naval officer.

History

Villa Guardamangia was built in 1900[4][5][6][7] by Sir Augusto Bartolo[8] and was called Casa Medina.[9][10] It was originally a farmhouse.[11]

In around 1929, the villa was first leased to the Earl Mountbatten of Burma,[4] who had interest in it because of its proximity to Marsa, which has a horse racing track and a golf course that suited his lavish entertainment lifestyle.[4] The villa was in a bad state and divided into apartments,[1] leading the Mountbattens to reside in two rooms at the Hotel Phoenicia in Floriana[1] while the house was being renovated.[12] Mountbatten bought the villa after some time[13] and frequented it while stationed in Malta as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in the 1950s.[4]

When the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh came to Malta at first they lodged at San Anton Palace, hosted by Gerald Strickland and his wife.[14] Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and her then-fiancé, Philip Mountbatten (later Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), first stayed at Guardamangia in 1946.[15] The couple returned a number of times between then and 1952, while Philip was stationed in Malta as a Royal Navy officer[16] and Elizabeth worked with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) at Auberge de Castile.[17] The Earl of Mountbatten eventually passed the villa to the royal couple[18][19] and they resided there continuously between 1949 and 1951. It has been suggested that their second child, Princess Anne, was conceived at the villa.[16] The Queen, who refers to the house simply as "Guardamangia",[20] has described her stay on Malta as one of the best periods of her life, as it was the only time she was able to live "normally".[21]

Queen Elizabeth II visited Villa Guardamangia during her state visit to Malta in 1992 and she and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 60th anniversary there.[22] She asked to see the villa when she visited Malta again in 2007, but was reportedly refused by its owners,[16] the family of Ġużè Schembri.[2] The Queen was given a painting of Villa Guardamangia by the Maltese High Commissioner in London, Norman Hamilton, in 2013.[23] The Queen did not visit the villa while she was in Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2015, as it was in a poor state of repair and subject of a dispute between its owners and the government,[24] but President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca presented the Queen with another painting of the villa's façade.[25]

Building and gardens

Front façade with plaque reading "Villa Guardamangia".
Front façade with plaque reading "Villa Guardamangia".

The villa is found just outside the outskirts[26] and suburb[27] of Valletta in the hamlet of Guardamangia[28] set just at the crest[29] in a quiet residential area[30] in a narrow street.[31] The villa is described as built in the form of a palace complemented with sea views over Marsamxett Harbour.[32] The Queen describes it as a "town house".[9] It is a typical traditional Maltese residence.[8] The building is built with limestone, known as sandstone and described by the Queen as "yellow stone",[9] and designed with spacious interiors.[33] The house has two entrances with one set at street level and another set after going up a flight of stairs under an elaborate front porch.[9] The royal family had taken their own personal belongings from Britain when they lived at the villa[34] allowing them to live in a lavish residence,[35] in a once-elegant home.[27] The royal family had British servants at the villa to serve them for their daily requirements.[36]

The gardens of the villa are secluded.[37] The Queen has described it simply as the "small garden at Villa Guardamangia".[17] The Queen herself had decorated the gardens and the surroundings according to her tastes and lifestyle,[38] however most garden-related work was done by a gardener.[39] The main outdoor feature in the garden is the long terrace taking from the building of the villa to the other side of the garden. In the middle of the terrace is where a bench stood that is the place where most known published photos of the royal couple and guests were taken.[40] Other photos were taken on the roof terrace of the villa,[4] while some were taken by the press back then at the front of the villa while the couple walked in on the flight of stairs.[41] The garden had a function to entertain and also to cultivate flowers, which Prince Philip enjoyed to have in his cabin and wardroom.[39]

Current

The Villa is in a dilapidated state.
The Villa is in a dilapidated state.

Today, Villa Guardamangia is privately owned by Marika Schembri and her siblings.[24] The building is scheduled as a Grade 2 monument by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority and it is in a dilapidated state.[42] The NGO Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar has called for its restoration and the government is attempting to expropriate and restore the villa,[43] accusing its current owners of allowing the villa to deteriorate in order to justify demolishing it so that the site can be sold and redeveloped.[44] In 2015, Queen Elizabeth, during her stay at San Anton Palace, said that the villa "looks rather sad now."

Villa Guardamangia is a potential tourist attraction once restored. In a non-scientific 2015 online poll, 84% of respondents stated that they would visit the villa if it were restored and opened to the public.[45][46] The villa is a common landmark associated with the royal family.[47] The Daily Telegraph has mistakenly portrayed the front façade of Villa Luginsland in Rabat as the back of Villa Guardamangia.[44]

Further reading

  • Fisher, Graham; Fisher, Heather (1992). Your Majesty: The life & reign of Elizabeth II. Hale. ISBN 978-0-7090-4736-0.
  • Whiting, Audrey (1982). Family Royal. W.H. Allen. ISBN 978-0-491-03040-3.

References

  1. ^ a b c Connell, Brian (1953). Manifest Destiny: A Study in Five Profiles of the Rise and Influence of the Mountbatten Family. Cassell.
  2. ^ a b Guillaumier, Alfie (1987). Bliet u Rħula Maltin (in Maltese). Valletta: Valletta Publishing & Promotion Co. Ltd. p. 268.
  3. ^ De Marco, Mario (2 May 2015). "Sharing some palatial thoughts". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Malta home of TRH's The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh at the Villa Guardamangia, Pieta during the 1949 to 1951 period". godfreydykes.info. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Scheduled Property - Gwardamanġa". Malta Environment and Planning Authority. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2006.
  6. ^ "Gwardamangia". Grech Claudio (in Maltese). Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  7. ^ Martin, Ivan (April 26, 2015). "Queen Elizabeth's Malta home in disrepair and must be restored before the royal visit". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Villa Guardamangia". The Crown Colonist. Vol. 20. 1950. p. 455.
  9. ^ a b c d Hicks (2014), p. 27.
  10. ^ Hatch, Alden (1966). The Mountbattens. W.H. Allen. p. 208.
  11. ^ Christopher, Peter H. (2017). The Spanish Knight's Secret. FriesenPress. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4602-9709-4.
  12. ^ Morgan (1991), p. 439.
  13. ^ Borda, Alfred Conti (December 16, 2012). "Maltese seaman who survived sinking of Mountbatten's ship". Times of Malta. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  14. ^ Galea, Michael (November 15, 2015). "Queen Elizabeth's stays in Malta over the years". Times of Malta. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  15. ^ Dexter, Margaret (13 March 2009). Malta Remembered. iUniverse. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-595-89670-7.
  16. ^ a b c Alexander, Adam (30 April 2015). "Row in Malta over Queen's crumbling former home". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 November 2015.
  17. ^ a b Hicks (2014), p. 171.
  18. ^ Morrow, Ann (1 August 1983). The Queen. W. Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-02136-8.
  19. ^ Edwards (1990).
  20. ^ Duell, Mark (26 November 2015). "'It looks rather sad now': Queen's forlorn response as she is given a painting of the villa in Malta where she and Prince Philip stayed as young couple". Mail Online. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  21. ^ Castillo, Ruth (26 November 2015). ""They were proud that she lived here!" – G'Mangia residents on the Queen". TVM. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  22. ^ "'It looks rather sad now': Queen's forlorn response on villa where she once lived". The Malta Independent. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Guardamangia...ghal darba darbtejn!". Net News (in Maltese). 28 November 2015.
  24. ^ a b Rayner, Gordon (25 November 2015). "Queen makes emotional visit to Malta for what may be her last Commonwealth summit". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  25. ^ "Painting of Villa Guardamangia presented to the Queen". Times of Malta. 26 November 2015. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  26. ^ Campbell, Judith (14 September 1972). Elizabeth and Philip. Barker. p. 61.
  27. ^ a b "A legacy of fry-ups and red postboxes". BBC News. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  28. ^ DrGoogelberg (2012). English Princesses. Lulu.com. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-291-07969-2.
  29. ^ "Apartments For Sale". Pieta Apartments. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  30. ^ Rix, Juliet (November 20, 2015). "Malta: Explore this distinctly British isle's regal heritage". Daily Express. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  31. ^ Cathcart, Helen (5 February 1982). The Queen Herself. W.H. Allen. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-491-02755-7.
  32. ^ Edwards (1990), p. 214.
  33. ^ Bedell Smith, Sally (December 14, 2011). "Love and Majesty". Vanity Fair.
  34. ^ Fisher, Graham (1982). The Queen's Family. W.H. Allen. ISBN 978-0-491-02867-7.
  35. ^ Higham, Charles; Moseley, Roy (March 1993). Elizabeth and Philip: The Untold Story of the Queen of England and her Prince. Berkley Books. ISBN 978-0-425-13757-4.
  36. ^ The Malta Year Book. St. Michael's College Publications. 1968.
  37. ^ Holden, Anthony (1980). Charles, Prince of Wales. Pan. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-330-26167-8.
  38. ^ Morgan (1991), p. 432.
  39. ^ a b Dean, John (1954). H. R. H. Price Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: A Portrait. R. Hale.
  40. ^ Flamini, Roland (4 July 1992). Sovereign: Elizabeth II and the Windsor Dynasty. Random House Publishing Group. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-440-21190-7.
  41. ^ British Monarchy. "Returning to Villa Guardamangia after State Drive [Royal Visit to Malta, 1949]". Flickr. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  42. ^ "Development Planning Act, 1992 (Section 46) – Scheduling of Property" (PDF). Malta Government Gazette. 20 April 2001. p. 4036. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2015.
  43. ^ Martin, Ivan (25 April 2015). "Appeal for Queen Elizabeth's former home to be restored". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015.
  44. ^ a b "Row in Malta over Queen's crumbling former home". The Daily Telegraph. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  45. ^ "Telegraph runs poll asking people if they would visit the Queen's old home in Malta if restored". The Malta Independent. 1 May 2015. Archived from the original on 6 August 2015.
  46. ^ James, Roxanne (20 May 2015). "Restoration Row over Queen's Former Home in Malta". Propertyshowrooms.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015.
  47. ^ Matthews, Jodie (15 November 2011). Islands and Britishness: A Global Perspective. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4438-3543-5.
Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 13 October 2018, at 17:51
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