The Palace State Rooms are the show piece of the Presidential Palace sited at the heart of Malta’s World Heritage capital city of Valletta. The Palace itself was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette in 1566 a few months after the successful outcome of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The Palace was enlarged and developed by successive Grand Masters to serve as their official residence. Later, during the British period, it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921. The palace today is the seat of the Office of the President of the Republic and the House of Parliament.
It was Grand Master Fra Pietro del Monte who, back in the late 16th century, first commissioned the building of a Magisterial Palace that was improved upon, enlarged and embellished by his successors to reach its present structure by the mid-eighteenth century. Following the brief interlude of the French in Malta between 1798 and 1800, the Palace became the official residence of the British Colonial Governor of Malta. While it was mostly through the embellishments of the various Grand Masters that the Palace reached its current appearance and dimensions, the British Governors also contributed to the dynamic and at times rather complicated architectural history of this edifice. The damage suffered by the President’s Palace as a result of the Second World War was considerable. Fortunately, the competent repairs after the devastating air-raids of February and April 1942 helped to revive the prime national and stately function of the Palace. The Palace State Rooms subsequently became the seat of Malta’s Legislative Assembly set up in 1947, Malta’s first parliament following Independence in 1964 and subsequent legislatures till the present day.