On the height of the Buskett Gardens lies The Verdala Palace. Set in the heart of the idyllic gardens it gives some breathtaking views of the island. Today it is used as a summer residence for the president of Malta. It is closed off to public except on the annual Moon Ball in August. And perhaps, sometimes, a woman wearing her blue dress dances among the guests, not being able to escape the palace, even in her death.

For a time Malta was ruled by a religious order. The Order of Saint John, was a medieval and early modern Catholic military order. And the island of Malta was ruled by the Order of Saint John as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Sicily from 1530 to 1798. 

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The Verdala Palace: Majestic as it stands, it is now used as a summer residence for the president of Malta. Photo: ERWEH

The order thought self that they turned, “merely a rock of soft sandstone” into a flourishing island with mighty defenses and a capital city among the great powers of Europe during the 268 years they ruled the island. The native felt otherwise though, as the Knights were French and excluded the native islanders from important positions. They were especially loathed for the way they took advantage of the native women.

The Blue Lady

The order was ruled by a Grand Master. And the last Grand Master of Malta was Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. He had a niece according to legend. But as the legend goes, even though the order were expelled by the French from the Island, she remains there as a ghost.

Walking the halls of the Renaissance palace under the frescoes in the ceiling, the baroque architecture, grand staircases and passing under the high, arched ceilings, she is unable to find any rest.

The Blue Lady, sometimes referred to as Is-sinjura tal-Verdala, was supposed to marry a man she didn’t love. Often it is thought he was one of the knights. But she had no say in that matter and was forced to it. The man grew angry and impatient at her refusals and imprisoned her in her room in the palace. She had no way of getting out. Unless… the only way she saw an escape was through the windows. But she slipped and fell to her death. After this, she has been spotted, walking the halls in her blue dress. The one she wore when she died.

Sightings of the ghost

One of the written accounts of seeing The Blue Lady is from a Howard Jones in 1917. At this time, Jones worked as a staff member of Admiral Sir Sir Arthur Gough-Calthorpe. In the diary, penned by a Capt. Robert Ingham, the aide-de-camp of the Gouvenour of Malta, he relayed Jones story.

One time, Jones went to the Verdala Palace for a weekend in July, 1917. There, he was given a small room with a window overlooking the ditch. On the second floor there is something that are known as “Blue Lady’s Quarters”. Today they are almost empty and uninhabited. The walls are painted in dark wedgewood blue.

According to the diary, the lady appeared there. When Jones was doing his tie in the mirror, a lady dressed in blue walked up behind him.

The lost name

Even though the story has persisted for a very long time, little is known about the name of the Lady in Blue, even though she is a descendant of a noble family. But she has been embraced by the Malta as part of the history and even the official presidential web page mentions her, writing: “This is only a legend, however many people do confirm that she does indeed appear in the palace wearing a blue dress.”

A possible link could be one of the de Rohan Polduc members seemingly being linked as siblings to Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc, which The Blue Lady is supposedly a niece of. They are:

  • Jean-Baptiste de Rohan-Polduc (1724-1782))
  • Marie Pélagie de Rohan-Polduc (1724-1753), married (1737) François de Groesquer, Count of Groesquer
  • Jean Léonard de Rohan-Polduc (?-1748)

Another version (a very dramatic one) of the legend is:

Cecile, a niece of Grand Master de Rohan, who had eloped with a commoner and found herself in her uncle’s care. It is said that after the Grand Master’s death during the French occupation of Malta, her fiancé was tortured in order to make him divulge the whereabouts of a supposed treasure hoard at Verdala Castle. Cecile took hold of the sword belonging to a French soldier, killed her fiancé to end his misery, and then jumped to her death from a castle window.

azure.com.mt

Whoever it is, at the annual Ball in August, when the gates to the palace opens, when it is once filled with people, with life, the guests still, again and again, insist on seeing The Lady in Blue.

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Sources: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/The-Blue-lady.654131
https://maltaprivateguide.com/verdala-palace/
https://president.gov.mt/the-palace-verdala/
https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/handle/123456789/49535

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