Her trips abroad are increasingly rare.
But Britain’s 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth is in Malta where she formally opened a summit of Commonwealth nations on Friday.
The Mediterranean island holds happy memories for the monarch from the days before royal duties governed her life.
But official business has brought her back, with climate change and the fight against Islamist extremism set to dominate the debate among member countries.
“At this meeting, the Commonwealth will be charged with demonstrating leadership, often in practical ways, on an agenda of global issues and drawing on a distinctive contribution of our members,” Elizabeth said at the opening ceremony.
Her husband Prince Philip was an officer in the British navy and when he was posted to Malta his new bride lived with him there from 1949 to 1951 – some of the most carefree and happiest days of her life, before she became Queen.
Its origins in Britain’s former colonial empire, the Commonwealth now comprises 53 countries across the world.
Summits are held every two years but with future events planned much further from home, this trip down memory lane may well be the last time the Queen presides in person.
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