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 has a special place in the heart of her majesty the 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. Another illustrious tenant of Villa Guardamangia, was Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle of Prince Philip, who rented the property from the Bartolo Family in the 1920’s and in all likelihood introduced it to the royal couple. Mountbatten was also Commander-in-Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet (based at Fort St Angelo) from 1952 to 1954.
In 1949, ownership of the villa changed hands when Joseph Schembri, purchased the Villa from the Bartolos, owners of the Daily Malta Chronicle. Schembri, who was a member of parliament with the Malta Labour Party, was also one of the foremost businessmen on the island at the time. Both families were strongly pro-British.
Villa Guardamangia, which by now had fallen into a despondent state of neglect, was purchased in turn from the descendants of the Schembri family by the Government of Malta on 5th June 2020 and entrusted to Heritage Malta. To inaugurate this significant acquisition, Heritage Malta Members were invited to participate in exclusively curated tours of the premises. Villa Guardamangia is currently closed to the public as it will soon be undergoing an extensive process of restoration. Free admission to museum and sites, discounts and the opportunity to book one-off tours are just some of the many perks of being a Heritage Malta member. (click here to take you to memberships)
With this virtual experience, a collaboration between Heritage Malta and Dhalia Real Estate Services we invite you to explore Villa Guardamangia as it is today, before it becomes rehabilitated, back to its former glory. The virtual platform not only serves as an important visual memory of the past and a documentation of the villa in its present state for posterity, it also provides access to the general public during this period of restoration, besides affording a privileged glimpse into a bygone era.
We hope you enjoyed your visit to No.49 Guardamangia Hill.