Meghan and Harry share close family ties to Malta

The people of Malta have congratulated Meghan and Harry after they announced they are expecting their first royal baby.

The couple told the Queen she would be having her eighth great-grandchild during Princess Eugenie’s wedding at Windsor Castle last week.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pictured beaming as they touched down in Sydney for their first Commonwealth tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.

Both Meghan and Harry have close ties with Malta.

Harry’s grandparents – the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh – lived in Malta between 1949 and 1952.

They stayed at Villa Guardamangia in Pietà, sharing the house with Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Prince Philip played polo at Marsa, took part in amateur drama performances in Hamrun, and served with Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet in the Grand Harbour.

Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, was a regular visitor to St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral in Valletta and lunched with Archbishop Michael Gonzi, who was to remain a personal friend of the royal couple.

The Queen and the Duke have visited Malta almost a dozen times since the 1950s, the last time in 2015 for the Commonwealth Summit in Valletta.

Meghan also has personal connections with the island as her great-great-grandmother Mary was born in Malta in 1862.

The former actress spent time in Malta and Gozo in 2015 and revealed she ‘really loved it’.

She visited Mdina, Valletta, Victoria and Dwejra during her stay, which included a photoshoot for Elle magazine.

At the time, Meghan said: ‘Coming to Malta has been really important to me because my great-great-grandmother lived here, so we’ve been trying to trace the ancestry.’

She added: ‘Before I came, people were telling me, ‘When you go to Malta, everyone will look like you,’ and I started to say, ‘Oh my gosh I do sort of blend in,’ and it’s the loveliest feeling.

‘The people have been so kind, the food is amazing and the culture. I can’t wait to come back, it’s too short a time.

‘Everything is picturesque. It is a great destination, really special.’

Meghan also got to see the famous Azure Window in Gozo before it collapsed into the sea.

She said: ‘In Gozo I loved the fresh goat’s milk cheeses, particularly the pickled ones with the black pepper on them.

‘I’m about to have the spaghetti with rabbit, which I’ve been waiting to try.

‘This morning, for breakfast, I tried the pastizzi with peas and ricotta. Oh my goodness they’re delicious!

‘So my suitcase will be filled with all sorts of Maltese treats.’

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