The site of this Palace was formerly occupied by a small hunting lodge built by Grandmaster Jean de la Valette between 1557 and 1568. The present structure was erected by Grandmaster Hughes Loubenx de Verdalle in 1586. The .Boschetto. area was chosen for the lushness of its vegetation, an ideal foraging ground for wild game introduced by the Order. Architect Gerolamo Cassar, the Order.s Maltese architect during Grand Master Verdalle.s magistracy (1582-1595) planned a fortified structure to provide a minimal form of defence against the Turkish razzias who struck Malta from time to time.
Grandmaster Jean de Lascaris-Castellar (1636-1657) and later Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena (1722-1736) contributed most to its embellishment. Verdala Palace was used as a military prison in 1800 for Napoleon.s soldiers who had surrendered to the Anglo-Maltese forces. For some time the building also served as a silk factory after which it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Governor Sir Frederick Ponsonby (1827-1836) was the first to attempt to repair the building but it was in Governor Sir William Reid.s (1851-1858) time that the Palace was restored to its former glory..
Verdala Palace then became the Governor's country residence and further improvements were made by subsequent governors. In 1939, at the beginning of hostilities which led to the Second World War, Verdala Palace was used as a repository for the National Musuem of Arts.
In 1982 Verdala Palace started to accommodate visiting Heads of State. A new electricity supply system was installed, the building.s external walls were re-pointed and facilities were improved. In 1987 Acting-President Paul Xuereb adopted Verdala Palace as his official residence.
The Palace hosted many distinguished dignitaries including King George V and Queen Mary in 1912, Prince Albert in 1913 and later King George VI in April 1943, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia in 1909 and 1919, Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1904, Colonel Moon Ball and concerts in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund, were held at the Palace. For the first time, in December 2011 the Palace hosted the annual fund-raising programme .L-Istrina..
In the recent years several projects have been carried out in Verdala Palace. One of which being that of the conservation project of the Vault painting in the Main Hall. The vault was entirely whitewashed after being covered with varnish in the 1930s. In 2008 the removal of the whitewash had been completed and the paintings on the vault can now be viewed in its entirety.
Another project of significant importance is that of an extensive restoration work on four painted wooden ceilings. The restoration works on the wooden ceilings consisting mostly of designs and emblems, adorning rooms on the piano nobile has once again been carried out by Heritage Malta. The project to salvage the paintings dating back to the 1700.s was sponsored by Bank of Valletta.
Various areas within Verdala Palace grounds have recently been upgraded or refurbished. These include the resurfacing of the main approaches and car park, the new pavement at the "August Moon Ball" area and the paving of the passageways that surround the Palace. A new GH212 Kayserburg Grand Piano donated by the Government of the People's Republic of China in 2011 is also found in the concert hall