Duchess Catherine to visit Malta on first solo trip abroad

Duchess Catherine will spend one night away from the palace, when she visits Malta in September on a solo trip. PHOTO: Rex Features

Duchess Catherine will spend one night away from the palace, when she visits Malta in September on a solo trip. PHOTO: Rex Features



Catherine, the wife of Britain’s Prince William, is to make her first official solo trip abroad with a visit to Malta in September, Kensington Palace announced Monday.

The Duchess of Cambridge will represent William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II on September 20 and 21 as the Mediterranean islands celebrate the 50th anniversary of their independence from Britain.

William and Kate’s son Prince George, who celebrated his first birthday today, will not be travelling with the duchess as she will only be spending one night away from home, the palace said.

“Further details about what her engagements will be will be announced in due course,” a palace spokeswoman told AFP.

William and Kate, both 32, were married in April 2011 and their first trip abroad as a couple was to Canada and California two months later.

In 2012, they visited Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee, marking her 60 years on the throne.

Earlier this year, William and Kate visited New Zealand and Australia, taking George with them for his first royal tour.

But the Malta visit will be Kate’s first official trip abroad on her own.

Queen Elizabeth is known to retain a deep affection for Malta. She and her husband Prince Philip lived there from 1949 to 1951, out of Britain and away from the media glare in the years before she inherited the throne aged 25 in 1952.

Prince Philip, a naval officer, was stationed in Malta with Britain’s Mediterranean fleet. It is the only place Queen Elizabeth has ever lived apart from Britain.

Her father king George VI awarded the George Cross medal for civilian gallantry to Malta for its stoicism during the 1940 siege of Malta and the honour appears in the top left corner of the country’s red and white flag.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Malta in 1954, 1967, 2005 and in 2007 for a private visit to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

When the islands became an independent realm in 1964, she was queen of Malta in its own right, until it became a republic in 1974.

Malta remains a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, of which Queen Elizabeth (88) is the head.

– SAPA

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