Malta Diary What links MEGHAN MARKLE to Malta? Did she find the link?
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Well, perhaps the 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 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II whose father Prince Charles is heir to the Throne, and thus, Meghan became a Duchess!
Right, so she is American, BUT she also has British ancestry. And how does this Fairy Tale relate to Malta you may well ask and what link does Meghan have to Malta?
Ms Markle came to Malta three years ago, in March 2015, as a fashion model for ElleUK 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?
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, 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.
Some few weeks back the British “Daily Express” reported that when asked about her most favourite destination from all her travels, without hesitation Queen Elizabeth replied “Malta”. When the Queen married Prince Philip they lived in Malta for quite some time as Princess Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
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.
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 a few days ago 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 three 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”.
“A well of knives”
An expression to denote a precarious situation which can end up similar to that of tumbling into a well that is packed with sharp knives.