Dating from 1586, the Verdala Palace was built from a hunting lodge by the (52nd) Grandmaster of the Order of Malta (Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta or Knights of Malta) Hughues Loubenx de Verdalle (Born 1531 – Died 1595) and has been the official summer residence of the President of Malta since 1987 as it had been for the British Governors of Malta until 1964.
The Verdala Palace is thought to be haunted by the Blue Lady, who is thought to date from the time of (70th) Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc (Born Spain 18 1725 – Died 14 July 1797). The following article extract from the Times Of Malta describes the story. ‘She was a young woman, a niece of Grand Master De Rohan for whom a suitor not to her liking had been chosen. Tired of being rejected by the lady in question, he imprisoned her in her room. One day she decided to escape through the window, only to fall out of it to her death. She was then seen roaming the building wearing a blue dress, the same dress she was said to have been wearing when she died. Between 1915 and 1919, Field Marshal Lord Methuen was governor of Malta. He was housing a guest – a certain Howard Jones – in the room, which had belonged to the Blue Lady. One day he asked the governor who the lady in blue, whom he always saw reflected in the mirror when he was dressing, was.
According to Mr Attard**, the secret was out and there was no need for the governor to explain as most of the staff at the castle had also seen her.
Another weird manifestation, which may or may not be connected to the Blue Lady but which also occurred at Verdala Palace during Lord Methuen’s years of government occurred when the bishop of London was visiting the island. He failed to turn up on time for a dinner held in his honour much to the annoyance of the Governor who Mr Attard tells us was a “stickler for time”.
He turned up half an hour late. He explained that the reason for his tardiness was that he had “supernatural trouble” when his door opened by itself when he was about to leave, only to shut in his face, preventing him from going out. He was kept inside the room for half an hour and it was only when he recited the prayers of exorcism that it became possible for him to leave the room.’
Another version of the story suggests the Blue Lady was a maid of Grandmaster Hughues Loubenx de Verdalle who threw herself from the window to avoid punishment.
Or, again, the niece of Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc who threw herself from the window after killing her fiancé to end his torture at the hands of the French who invaded on 19 May 1798.***
*Possibly called Cecile
** Joseph Attard, author of ‘The Ghosts of Malta‘
*** The French used the Verdala Palace as a military prison until 1800 after which it was abandoned until its restoration under Sir William Reid (Born 1791– Died 1858) who was the British Governor of Malta from 1851.