Memories from Malta. Megan Markle’s Links to Malta

ALBERT FENECH

Megan wearing a traditional old-style Maltese Gonella no longer worn today but a throwback to the Islamic past worn by religious women not to expose their body flesh

  

Did you know that Duchess of Sussex MEGHAN MARKLE’S paternal great, great, grandmother was born in Malta? 

Well, she was!  

If the DUCHESS OF SUSSEX Meghan Markle were to be banned and prohibited by every country in the world, there would surely be ONE exemption … and that is MALTA! 

If I were to tell you there is a great link between the late Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Markle, the DUCHESS OF SUSSEX, you would probably choke in your excellent Maltese Rose’ wine! 

A volume of polluted and stained water has passed between Meghan and the British Royal family since she married Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex i.e. Harry and Meghan, are almost exploding in the media every day with startling “revelations” many of which damage the British Royal Family. 

HOWEVER, there is ONE single bridge of love and admiration that links the late Queen and the Duchess of Sussex together – their mutual love and admiration for the Maltese Islands! 

Meghan Markle in Malta  – she loved Malta,  Maltese wine and Maltese food 

Queen Elizabeth never had any hesitation in her love and admiration for Malta when she was a Princess and lived here for two years in 1949/50 shortly after her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, and later as Queen during many visits. 

When once she was asked by the newspaper, “The Daily Express”, which is her favourite country outside the United Kingdom, she immediately replied “Malta – because I always felt a free woman there”. 

Well, perhaps Meghan Markle’s title’s is “The Duchess of Sussex” – but I am more than certain most of the world will continue to know her as Meghan Markle whose life turned into a veritable Fairy Tale when, as an American actress, she met and married Prince Harry, no less the grandson of the late Queen Elizabeth II and now whose son is King Charles III.

 

                                                                        Meghan with friend in Malta

 

Ok, maybe she is regarded by many as a no-pedigree, jumped-up Yank, out to milk her position as much as possible financially and has done her level best to damage the British Monarchy with allegations of racism, snobbishness, etc, BUT she also has British ancestry. 

And how does this Meghan Markle Fairy Tale relate to Malta and her Sussex title you may well ask and what link does Meghan have to Malta? 

Duchess Markle came to Malta  in March 2015, as a fashion model for Elle UK fashion magazine – that is – before her official engagement to Prince Harry, later admitting she had jumped at being given the opportunity to visit Malta because she had a special reason and there was research she greatly desired to carry out. 

That research was to establish without doubt that her great, great grandmother on her father’s side of the family had been born in Malta.

Did she find the link?

 

                                                                 Visiting the Meridian wine cellar

 

Yes, she did. Great, great grandmother Mary Bird was born in Malta on 3rd May, 1862, the daughter of soldier Thomas Bird who at the time was stationed in Malta with the British military services. Mary resided in Malta for 18 years before she left for the United States where she later married one George Merrill – and thus the Fairy Tale began to take shape. 

While in Malta, Meghan was lodged at Casa Ellul, a boutique hotel in Valletta and apparently loved every moment of it and every moment of her Malta visit. 

She loved the Maltese people too, describing them as relaxed and laid-back with a comfortable style of living and above all, being extremely friendly and welcoming. The factor to keep in mind is that her visit was BEFORE the announcement of the Royal engagement – therefore she received no special treatment because the Maltese generally adore the British Royal Family – and the British Royals know it and appreciate it.

 

                                     Blowing in the wind – a day spent sightseeing in windy March

 

What else did Meghan do besides researching, taking photoshoots and visiting places of interest? She developed a great love for Maltese wine (apparently her favourites were Rose’ and Merlot) and Maltese-style food in general, but particularly cheeselettes made from sheep’s milk and the traditional spaghetti and fried rabbit with lots of garlic, gravy and chips or roast potatoes. 

The owners of Casa Ellul, brothers Andrew and Matthew, said they spent many an evening with her as she sampled their wine cellar and preferred to stay in rather than gallivant about in night clubs and discos. 

On one occasion she visited a vintner on a wine-tasting tour of Meridiana and producer Karl Chetcuti confirmed her favouring red over white wine, particular Rose’ and Merlot, He also confirmed she had a considerable knowledge of the different type wines. 

Dorianne Kurtcu Mifsud who together with her husband runs the Ta’ Doni Restaurant in Rabat and also founded the Diar il-Bniet Restaurant at nearby Dingli, said she particularly liked the Maltese platter and the sheep’s milk cheeselettes and even asked for more. She also loved the rabbit and the rabbit spaghetti sauce cooked with lots of fresh garlic as well as the chunks of fried rabbit.

 

                                                               The Diar il-Bniet Restaurant at Dingli

Before her engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan wrote a Blog titled “The Tig” and later showered Malta with praise in the blog, particularly the warm welcome she received, the wine and the food – and displayed lots of pictures. 

Darren Mifsud who runs Diar il-Bniet Restaurant said that he had been surprised by one of his clients who told him she was visiting because she had been recommended to visit by somebody. 

“Do you know who recommended me?”, she asked. It was none other than her close friend Meghan Markle and Mifsud was greatly surprised because years had passed since her visit and she still remembered her visit to the restaurant. 

Meghan had been enraptured by the restaurant’s farmhouse style building but particularly by the Maltese decorated floor tiles 

However, the best souvenir of her visit was received by the Ellul brothers of Casa Ellul who received a letter from Meghan a few days after her departure, in her own handwriting and in which she thanked them profusely for their hospitality and stressed how much she had enjoyed her Malta visit. 

All those who met her remained impressed by her homely personality and humble approach to everything, describing her as “sweet and down-to-earth”. They were also impressed how much admiration she expressed for Malta and the local style of living. 

Above all, her parting comment: “I will definitely be back”. 

Would she receive the same reception today? I have no doubt that should the Duchess of Sussex one day return to Malta, she would be more than welcome in many quarters.

 

ALBERT FENECH

 

e/mail – salina46af@gmail.com

 

 

Author

  • Albert Fenech

    Albert Fenech was born in Malta in 1946. His family moved to England in 1954 where he spent boyhood and youth before in 1965 returning to Malta. He spent eight years as a journalist with “The Times of Malta” before taking a career in HR Management Administration with a leading international construction company in Libya, later with Malta Insurance Brokers, and finally STMicroelectronics Malta, employing 3,000 employees, Malta’s leading industrial manufacturer. Throughout he actively pursued international freelance journalism/ broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel. He has written in a number of publications both in Malta and overseas, as well as publishing two e-books. For the last eight years he had been writing a “Malta Diary” with pictures for Lyn Funnel’s B-C-ingU.com international travel magazine.

2 thoughts on “Memories from Malta. Megan Markle’s Links to Malta

  1. Hi, re the “March 2015, as a fashion model for Elle UK fashion magazine” issue. Can you post a link to the shoot in Elle publication or website, as I have never been able to find proof that this was actually carried. Thanks

  2. This is because the Elle photoshoot did not exist. When days into the stay she was questioned about the non-arrival of Elle location scouts and photographers, she snuck out of the hotel early one morning and left the country. The photos of her in the Ghonella were taken by talented Maltese photographer Kurt Arrigo, who understood that he would be working in collaboration with Elle staff when they arrived. He retains the copyright – because he was never paid.

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