After 70 years on the throne, we were all deeply saddened about the Queen’s death earlier this month. As Britain’s longest serving monarch, she had a remarkable life and phenomenal sense of duty, which she maintained until the very end of her life. Throughout the past seven decades she has shown strength and resilience, remaining a constant presence of calm, whatever was happening in the world.
Her important international role meant she travelled extensively during her extraordinary reign, both without and without her beloved husband Prince Philip. At the age of 20, she went abroad for the first time in her life, visiting South Africa on a two month tour, where she celebrated her 21st birthday.
Another place that was truly special to Queen Elizabeth II is Malta, a destination that’s also close to our hearts. After visiting the country several times as a young princess, she later went on many of her official trips. In 1954, during a tour of the Commonwealth, she said that although the country was among the smallest in size, Malta takes an honoured place among the countries she visited. During her last visit in Malta in 2005, one of our DMC team members was lucky enough to support the preparations for the Queen’s gala dinner, which was a surreal but exciting experience. It’s clear she was deeply loved by the Maltese people, and in recent weeks they have paid their respects to her, by laying flowers outside Villa Guardamangia, a former residence of Britain’s then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip between 1949 and 1951. It was the only country she lived in, outside of the UK. Under her steer as Head of the Commonwealth, the network grew into one that promotes democracy, diversity and brings people and countries together in a spirit of shared values.
Of course, Malta wasn’t the only country the Queen loved. She also adored the wilds of Scotland, which is home to her beloved Balmoral Castle, and Cornwall where she regularly visited on holidays. In 1957 and 1985, we know that she spent time in Portugal, visiting historical spots outside Lisbon, like the Batalha Monastery. She also visited another of our favourite destinations- Croatia, in 1972, with her husband Prince Philip and daughter Princess Anne. She toured Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Đakovo, Pula and the Brijuni Islands during a more extensive visit to what was then Yugoslavia. As soon as she arrived in Zagreb she was welcomed with open arms by the locals, before visiting the Palace of the Academy in Zrinjevac. She was particularly impressed by the Bašćanska plaque in the atrium of the palace, a gift of the Croatian king Zvonimir, which is about a hundred years older than the English Magna charta libertatum. As a maritime nation, Britain has always had strong ties with Croatia and coastline, but the country was delighted when Queen Elizabeth II brought that to light through her visit.
Everyone at STAR Your World, and all of our partners, had deep respect and for Queen Elizabeth II. As well as admiring her open mindedness and passion for exploring new places, we are grateful for her hard work and devotion to her home country over her long reign. Our deepest condolences are with King Charles III and his family at this difficult time.