The Queen’s former home in Malta is to be turned into a royal museum, it has been confirmed.
The Prime Minister said Villa Guardamangia ‘had the potential to become a huge tourist attraction’.
Joseph Muscat told Parliament in Valletta that the government had signed a deal to buy the building following talks with Buckingham Palace.
He told MPs the villa will be completely refurbished and restored to its former glory over the coming months.
Villa Guardamangia was home to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip between 1949 and 1951.
It was put up for sale in June for €6.5 million.
The once grand house in Pieta, which is listed as a Grade 2 monument, is in a sorry state after decades of neglect.
The villa enjoys sea views over Marsamxett Harbour from the roof terrace, has six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a grand ‘sala nobile’, and various rooms leading to a large mature garden.
Villa Guardamangia was built in 1900 by Sir Augusto Bartolo.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh spent the first years of their marriage living at the villa when the Prince was in the stationed in Malta with the Royal Navy on HMS Chequers.
The Queen has fond memories of her time on the island, living as a naval officer’s wife.
Speaking during a trip to Malta in 2015, The Queen said: ‘Visiting Malta is always very special for me.
‘I remember happy days here with Prince Phillip when we were first married.’
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have returned to Malta several times over the years – most recently in 1992 for a state visit, in 2007 for their diamond anniversary and in 2015 for the Commonwealth summit in Valletta.