Later this week, the Duchess of Sussex will travel by train with the Queen to Northwest England to carry out a full day of engagements in Cheshire. The momentous occasion is Meghan’s biggest royal responsibility to date, as she will accompany the monarch without her husband by her side. With so much bonding time at their disposal, what will the new royal and head of the monarchy talk about? It just so happens that the two important ladies in Prince Harry’s life share a very special bond – they both have an affinity for the country of Malta.
While the Queen has had a well-documented and longstanding love affair with Malta, where she enjoyed a few carefree years with Prince Philip following their wedding in 1947, Meghan’s ties to the country run much deeper. In 2015, the former Suits star embarked on an emotional trip to Malta to learn more about her ancestry - in particular, her great-great grandmother Mary Bird, who was born on the central Mediterranean island in the late 1880s before emigrating to U.S. “The trip was mostly about trying to understand where I come from, my identity. There is something so lovely about fitting in a piece of the puzzle,” she explained during an interview with local food blog Little Rock.
She continued: “Before I [went], people were telling me, 'When you go to Malta, everyone will look like you,' and I started to say, 'Oh my gosh I do sort of blend in,' and it’s the loveliest feeling: people have been so kind.”
During her short time in the country, foodie Meghan immersed herself in the local cuisine (think pastizzi with peas and ricotta and fresh pickled cheeses) and culture and spent much of her time wandering the cobbled streets and touring landmarks like Caravaggio at St John's Co-Cathedral. Much of what the 36-year-old experienced on her adventure will surely spark special memories for the Queen, who reluctantly left the peaceful oasis after her father, King George VI, fell ill in 1951. Not soon father, she was then called to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952 upon the death of the king.
Decades later, Lady Pamela Hicks, who was one of the monarch’s bridesmaids, explained to the DailyMail why the royal fell in love with Malta. “The Princess really loved Malta because she was able to lead a normal life, wander through the town and do some shopping,” she explained, adding, “It was the only place that she was able to live the life of a naval officer's wife, just like all the other wives."
Adapting to change is another shared experience between the Queen and Meghan. It wasn't too long ago that the California native was enjoying a relativity quiet existence in Toronto before crossing paths with Prince Harry and subsequently changing her world forever. It's safe to say that the dynamic duo will have lots to talk about during their first outing together and even more so as Meghan settles into life as a member of the Royal Family.