Duchess of Cambridge visits Malta
The news that the Duchess of Cambridge will visit Malta in September on her first official overseas trip without Prince William was greeted with great excitement by the Maltese public, and Malta will be giving the Duchess its legendary warm welcome when she visits the island on the 20th and 21st September for its 50th independence celebrations.
Representing the Queen for her first solo trip, the 32-year-old Duchess will travel to the country's capital, Valletta, where the Queen spent two years in the early 50's when Prince Philip was part of the crew of destroyer HMS Chequers.
"Malta, who famously won a George Cross for its people's bravery during WWII - when it was pulverised by the Luftwaffe - is close to the Queen's heart," reported the UK national newspaper The Mirror. The upcoming visit by the Duchess of Cambridge will do much to cement the island in her own heart as she attends one of Malta's four major anniversaries in 2014. What has been achieved painstakingly over the past five decades puts Malta and its small population in a new light.
This year Malta celebrates four major national anniversaries. In a relatively short span of time Malta has made huge strides forward and, though small in size, has managed to weather all economic storms and the effects of the world-wide financial crisis. In fact, it has positively thrived, and is becoming the real "tiger" of the Mediterranean, as the country consolidates its enviable position as a business and tourism powerhouse in the region. Each national event has become a significant occasion for the celebration of our Maltese heritage.
On the 31st of March, the country celebrated the 35th Anniversary of Freedom Day, since the large-scale monument in front of the Birgu Church was officially inaugurated by former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. This large scale monument marked the end of the British forces on the Islands.
Soon after, on the 1st day of May, Malta commemorated the traditional national Workers’ Day and the 10th anniversary since Malta joined the European Union. EU membership was the result of a long political, economic and social evolution that saw our country experience important political milestones, several of which are celebrated this year. For the first time ever, Malta will take on the Presidency of the European Union in the first six months of 2017. It will be another important milestone. As will hosting the European City of Culture in Valletta for 2018.
The next special anniversary is set for the Queen's representative Kate Middleton on the 21st September. Malta will celebrate the Golden Anniversary since Malta became an Independent State. It was the foresight; courage and determination of the then Prime Minister Dr. George Borg Olivier and the Maltese Parliament who managed to achieve a momentous independence for one of the smallest states within the British Empire. The transition from a military economy based on the British dockyards to a modern European onshore economy began, and Malta embraced independence with a relish for improving the country, starting widespread building programmes, investments in health and education, and getting its entrepreneurs fired up to face the future with optimism and energy. Hotel Phoenicia also played important roles in historical events on the island. Official functions marking the independence celebrations in September 1964 were held mainly at the Phoenicia. As an important focus of Malta's social life, it became a local landmark and a household name throughout the islands. This holiday features a National Day Parade, a 21 gun salute and an address by the Prime Minister of Malta, and firework celebrations.
Just before Christmas, on the 13th December, Malta will also mark the 40th Anniversary since it became a Republic. Sir Anthony Mamo was the first President of Malta. He previously served as the last Governor-General, representing Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta, when the country was a Commonwealth realm. He was also the first Maltese citizen to be appointed Governor-General, and before independence, briefly served as acting Governor.
Hotel Phoenicia's staff, some of whom have been helping to serve our guests for over 35 years, are all keen to participate in the festivities and celebrate these national events, and all look forward to seeing our guests enjoying our tributes to the men and women who have helped make our country what it is today and who continue to enrich our lives. We are absolutely certain that the Duchess of Cambridge will take back with her heartfelt memories of Malta.