The Prince of Wales has spoken warmly of the Royal Family’s ‘deep and personal connection’ with Malta.
Charles, 68, was speaking at a ceremony in Valletta to mark the the 75th anniversary of the awarding of the George Cross to Malta.
The medal was awarded to the Maltese people for bravery during the Second World War.
The Prince told the audience in St George’s Square: ‘By 1942, after almost two years of intense aerial bombardment, Malta was on the brink of surrender.
‘Indeed between March and April of that year more bombs were dropped on Malta than on London during the entirety of the blitz.
‘With strength of spirit, Malta’s valiant citizens held firm.’
He added: ‘It is a blessing that tonight we are surrounded by veterans and civilians who lived through the troubling invasion.
‘Without their courage and determination Malta would not have become the thriving influence that it is today.
‘The George Cross serves as a symbol of the profound gratitude in the UK and across the Commonwealth, of the sacrifice Malta made and the enduring relationship with the people of these ancient isles.’