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Queen Elizabeth wraps up nostalgic Malta trip

Published:Sunday | November 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The crew of the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bulwark salute Queen Elizabeth II during her boat trip across Valletta Harbor last Saturday.


Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday wrapped up a nostalgic visit to Malta, her one-time home, where she joked that Canada's youthful new leader had made her feel old.

The British monarch has close ties to the Mediterranean island where she lived between 1949 and 1951, while her husband, Prince Philip, was in the Royal Navy.

On Saturday she crossed the Grand Harbour in the capital, Valletta, in a traditional Maltese wooden boat. She alighted at the spot where her father, King George VI, landed in June 1943 to present Malta with the George Cross in honour of citizens' bravery in withstanding a World War II siege by the forces of Italy and Nazi Germany.




It's the only time a country, rather than an individual, has received Britain's highest civilian award for valour.

Later the queen and Philip watched a buggy race at Marsa racecourse before boarding a plane back to London. The horse-loving queen had been due to watch a polo match, but it was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.

During her three-day visit the monarch opened a summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth of Britain and many of its former colonies.




She was toasted at a banquet by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose father Pierre governed Canada for more than a decade from 1968. Trudeau recalled the monarch's many visits to his country, saying she had "seen more of Canada than most Canadians."

The queen thanked 43-year-old Trudeau "for making me feel so old."

It had been widely speculated that this might be the queen's last biennial Commonwealth summit, because at 89 she has given up long-haul travel.

But the Commonwealth announced Saturday that the next gathering will be held in Britain in early 2018. It had been due to take place in 2017 in Vanuatu, but the South Pacific nation was devastated by a cyclone in March.