Queen views plaque honouring her father's 1943 visit to Malta


The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took a boat ride across Valletta Harbour in Malta, alighting at the same spot where George VI landed in 1943 to present the George Cross.

A plaque marking George's visit, which was moved some years ago to a museum, has been permanently re-installed at the Customs House so the Queen could see it.

The royal couple could be spotted looking over the wall at Heritage Malta, on the other side of the harbour from HMS Bulwark, as snipers held their positions on the roof of the building next door.

A small crowd was in place to see the pair get on the boat.

The boat was a traditional dghajsa built in 1954, called Maryanne, a wooden vessel painted in red, yellow and green which had been given a white canopy and white wind shields around the sides.

It was escorted by several Maltese patrol vessels with armed sailors on board.

The Queen could be seen holding on to her hat with one hand in the wind and peering around at the view as the boat crossed the harbour.

There were about 15 people on board with the Queen and Prince Philip, including their private secretaries and local officials.

A bit of swell made it a slightly rocky ride, while the sun was behind the clouds for the crossing.

Canon shots rang out in the silence, and the bells in Valletta were also sounding to mark midday.

As the boat reached HMS Bulwark, the crew, lined up along the perimeter of the deck, took off their white caps, holding them aloft, and cheered "hip hip hooray" three times.

The Bulwark was decorated with colourfulsignalling flags hanging all along its length, and the captain and senior officers stood to attention on the dock gate under huge British flags as the royals docked in the harbour next to them.