The Queen's speech at Heritage Malta, 28 November 2015
Visiting Malta is always very special for me.
I remember happy days here with Prince Philip when we were first married, and the wonderful official visits over the past sixty years.
Since my first experience of Malta in 1949 as a young woman, I have seen this country evolve into a strong nation which plays an important role on the world stage. When Prince Philip and I returned in November 2007 at the time of our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, we could not help but be impressed by the progress and the sense of optimism.
At the same time you have retained your unique character and powerful national identity. With each visit here I am reminded why Malta was awarded the George Cross in 1942 by my father, King George VI, for her valour – the first and only time it has been awarded to a country rather than an individual.
Here today we have seen fine examples of your valiant past being preserved and your preparation for the future. I have no doubt that Malta will continue to thrive with its cultural diversity and historical perspective, coupled with a modern outlook.
I thank you sincerely for being such attentive hosts these past few days and for welcoming Prince Philip and me, once again, so warmly.