Queen speaks publicly for first time since Philip’s death and cracks age joke

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Queen Elizabeth II cracked a joke about her age during a video call as she spoke publicly for the first time since her husband Prince Philip died.

The 95-year-old monarch found out that she was the first person to receive a lifesaving swimming badge but said it was "terrible" when she realised it was 80 years ago.

On a video call with the Royal Life Saving Society, she said she hadn't known she was the first to get the award.

She said: "I didn’t realise I was the first one. I just did it and had to work very hard for it.

"It’s a very long time ago, I’m afraid, I think it’s changed a lot."

At the age of 14, she joined sister Princess Margaret for swimming lessons at the Bath Club, a gentleman's club in Dover Street, Mayfair in 1941.

During her time as a teenager growing up in the Second World War, she remembers feeling proud to earn the Junior Respiration Award from the society.

But she was told she was the very first person to obtain the achievement on the video call which was released today (May 10).

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Clive Holland, deputy Commonwealth president of the society, told her: "Your Majesty, when you say it was a long time ago, it was in fact 80 years ago."

The monarch laughed and replied: "That’s terrible!"

The Queen was in good spirits and smiling throughout the call after her husband Philip's death.

Her Majesty also spoke of her days growing up during World War 2 with the society which works across 30 Commonwealth nations in a bid to stop preventable drowning.

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The Queen spoke to Sarah Downs, a Manchester Metropolitan University student who saved a little boy's life when she was working as a lifeguard at a swimming pool in 2018.

Sarah, 20, asked the monarch for her memories of achieving the award.

The Queen said: "Well, it’s a very long time ago. I do remember it was of course all done in the Bath Club in the swimming pool.

"And I suppose I didn’t really actually realise quite what I was doing, you know, because I think I must have been 12 or something, 12 or 14 or something like that.

"But it was a great achievement and I was very proud to wear the badge on the front of my swimming suit. It was very grand I thought."

She was also told of how another lifesaver, Tanner Gorille from South Africa, resuscitated a young woman at one of Cape Town's tidal pools while volunteering as a lifeguard.

She said it was "splendid work" the society and Mr Gorille were doing.

  • Prince Philip
  • Queen
  • Royal Family

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