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The Duchess of Cambridge is to take her first solo foreign tour, travelling to Malta on behalf of the Queen in September.
Kate will join celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of Malta's Independence from the UK on September 20th and 21st, Kensington Palace announced today.
In a sign of her confidence in her grandson’s wife, the Queen has asked the Duchess to travel to the Mediterranean island which holds a special place in her heart.
Off to Malta: The Duchess of Cambridge, seen here at Wimbledon last month, is to visit the island in September.
As young newly-weds, the Queen and Prince Philip - who was then serving in HMS Chequers with the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet - lived together on Malta for almost two years.
The Queen considers their time there as one of the happiest periods of her life as it was their only experience of living like an 'ordinary' couple.
Although they were accompanied to the island by a retinue which included an equerry, a valet, a lady-in-waiting, and the Princess's childhood nanny, as well as their ever-present police bodyguards, the newly-weds were pretty much free to come and go as they pleased.
For the future Queen, this was simply unheard of. There were parties, picnics, swimming expeditions and boat trips.
Happy time: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh lived in Maltese capital Valletta for two years in the 1950's
Job: The Duke was serving on destroyer HMS Chequers, seen here in a Boxing Day photo with the Queen.
The young princess even went out shopping and on visits to the hairdressers with the other young officers' wives.
Philip, meanwhile, discovered a life-long love of polo. 'It was a fabulous time,' he later recalled.
The couple lived at Villa Guardamangia, an idyllic holiday home rented by Philip's uncle, Lord 'Dickie' Mountbatten.
During her stay in Malta the Queen left her first child, Prince Charles, at Buckingham Palace with his nanny and grand-parents, although she returned home for frequent visits.
Her daughter, Princess Anne, was conceived on the island, and although she went back to England for her birth in August 1950, the Queen returned to Malta several times afterwards.
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Thanks to the Daily Mail for this very exciting article!