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Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta


The ex-soldier leads a Catholic fraternity that was founded in the 11th century and carries out humanitarian work in 120 countries. The private residence of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta is perched high above the Ligurian Sea on a rocky promontory near Rapallo and within view of the mouth of Portofino harbour.


Matthew Festing Grand Master of the Knights of Malta© Alberto Bernasconi

A Maltese Cross flies from the battlements of Villa Pagana, or Villa Malta, as the locals have called it since the 1950s, when the Spinolas, a family of princely merchants, entrusted it to the world’s oldest surviving chivalric order.

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (to give it its full name) is an enigmatic Catholic religious fraternity founded in 1048.

Despite having no territory, it is considered a sovereign entity under international law, printing its own postage stamps and coins.

A butler, in a white jacket with gold buttons, leads me into the salone, where I await His Most Eminent Highness The Prince and Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, also known as Matthew Festing, a former Grenadier Guardsman from Northumbria in England..........

Read full article: The Financial Times- Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta