The mysterious legend about the Blue Lady in Verdala Palace from Malta is shrouded in questions. What happened? Who is she? Will she ever find peace?
The mysterious legend about the Blue Lady in Verdala Palace on Malta is shrouded in questions as she is supposedly haunting the beautiful castle. What happened to her and Who is she? Will she ever find peace?
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.
The History of Malta
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 ones that built the Verdala Palace in the 1500s as a hunting lodge. 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 when the legend is said to have taken place.
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. Perhaps The Blue Lady is an echo of these women?
The Blue Lady in Verdala Palace
The order was ruled by a so called Grand Master. And the last Grand Master of Malta was Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. He had a niece according to legend who is said to be The Blue Lady in the Verdala Palace. But as the legend goes, even though the order were eventually expelled by the French from the Island, she remains there as a ghost.
Walking the halls of the Renaissance palace under the intricate frescoes in the ceiling, the bold architecture, grand staircases and passing under the high, arched ceilings, The Blue Lady is unable to find any rest in her castle prison.
The Blue Lady, sometimes referred to as Is-sinjura tal-Verdala, was supposed to marry a man she didn’t love according to legend. Often it is thought he was one of the knights.
She had no say in that matter and was forced to it but kept trying to refuse the man she would be forced to spend the rest of her life with. The man grew angry and impatient at her refusals and imprisoned her in her room in the palace to teach her a lesson and keep her in her place.
Imprisoned and forced to compliance, she had no way of getting out. Unless… the only way she saw an escape was through the windows. The palace was many floors high and it was dangerous, some might even say impossible to escape this way. She slipped and fell to her death.
In some version she just gave up completely and threw herself out from the window to take her own life instead of marrying.
After her tragic death, The Blue Lady has been spotted inside of Verdala Palace, walking the halls in her blue dress. The very same dress she wore when she died.
Interested in more stories about ghosts that were trapped in a castle? Read the story about The Prisoner of Château de Puymartin
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 Arthur Gough-Calthorpe. He once visited the Verdala Palace and came back with a ghost story. In the diary, penned by a Capt. Robert Ingham, the aide-de-camp of the Gouverneur 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 Blue Lady appeared there before him as a ghost. When Jones was doing his tie in the mirror, a lady dressed in blue walked up behind him, but when he turned around there was no one there.
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 in Verdala Palace, 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 website 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 behind the The Blue Lady in the Verdala Palace 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 The Blue Lady is, at the annual Ball at Verdala Palace 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 dancing in the halls in her blue dress.
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