Published 20 September 2014

This really is a most beautiful country.

The Duke of Cambridge

Your Excellency President of Malta, Honourable Prime Minister, Honourable Ministers and Parliamentarians, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen thank you so much for such a warm welcome on the occasion of Malta's fiftieth anniversary of independence.

While I know that you were not expecting me until a few days ago, I must admit that I feel honoured to be able to represent Her Majesty in a country so beloved by her.

Catherine has asked me to say how very sorry she is that she couldn't be the one to pass on The Queen's greetings to you all.  She was looking forward to coming here, and I know she hopes very much that she will be able to visit in the future.

It is now a great privilege to deliver a message to the people of Malta from Her Majesty The Queen.

"Prince Philip and I send our congratulations to the President, the Prime Minister, and the people of Malta, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Independence.

We have such fond memories of your country at different stages of our lives, first as a young married couple when we lived in Malta, and then again when we returned at the time of our 60th wedding anniversary in 2007.

Over the years we have seen Malta grow and develop into the confident and proud nation we see today.  Next year you will showcase your country as hosts of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Prince Philip and I are grateful to the people of Malta for always making us, and our family, feel so welcome.

I send my warmest good wishes to you for your celebrations this week, and for the continued success and prosperity of Malta in the future."

Your Excellency, Honourable Prime Minister thank you so much for your warm and generous hospitality.  This really is a most beautiful country.  I very much look forward to exploring more of it in the next 24 hours and hope that you all have a wonderful evening.