Well, she was!
If I were to tell you there is a great link between the late Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Markle you would probably choke on 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 (is he still a Prince?) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex i.e. Harry and Meghan, are almost exploding in the media every day with startling revelations to damage the British Royal Family.
However, there is ONE single bridge of love and admiration that links the late Queen and the Duchess together – their mutual love and admiration for the Maltese Islands!
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 favorite country outside the United Kingdom, she immediately replied, “Malta – because I always felt a free woman there”.
Well, perhaps Meghan Markle’s title should read “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 whose son is now King Charles III.
Visiting The Meridian Wine Cellar
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 you may well ask and what link does Meghan have to Malta?
“Duchess” Markle came to Malta almost eight years ago 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 the 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?
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 favorites 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 nightclubs and discos.
On one occasion she visited a vintner on a wine-tasting tour of Meridiana and producer Karl Chetcuti confirmed her favoring red over white wine, particularly Rose’ and Merlot, He also confirmed she had considerable knowledge of the different types of 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 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 by 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 wonder…
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