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Queen Elizabeth II to miss visit to old home in Malta


London: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will not get a chance of a nostalgic visit to a villa in Malta she shared with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, when they were newly-married nearly 70 years ago.

The Queen and Prince Philip spent two years living at Villa Guardamangia in the capital Valletta when the Duke was based there with the Royal Navy but the couple will be unable to revisit their old home during a three-day tour this week due to its extremely poor state of repair.

The Maltese government had hoped to buy the building and turn it into a tourist attraction but a long-drawn legal battle with its current owners means nothing has been done, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Its stonework is crumbling, paintwork peeling, shutters falling apart, ironwork rusting and weeds have overtaken the garden where the Queen and the Duke once relaxed in the Mediterranean sun.

The royal couple arrive on the archipelago today for the British monarch to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the island nation’s capital Valletta.

They had alsocelebrated their 60th wedding anniversary there in 2007 and the Queen had then reportedly asked to see the house to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary but the then owners are said to have refused. She last went inside in 1992, during a state visit.

The Queen and the Duke will be greeted by Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the airport and will then receive a ceremonial welcome, attended by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

The royal couple will be meeting some former associates from the time they spent on the island from 1949 to 1951 during the visit.

The Queen will also be accompanied by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on the tour.

It will be the fourth time Prince Charles, who is due to make a speech on climate change at a business forum, has attended CHOGM.

The monarch will open the event tomorrow with a speech to Commonwealth leaders and attend a banquet that evening.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond are also expected to attend the meeting. Cameron wants discussions to focus on ways Commonwealth countries can work together to defeat terrorist groups.

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