Queen remembers her teenage years as she speaks in public for first time since Philip's death

The Queen joined a video call with the Royal Life Saving Society. Credit: Buckingham Palace

The Queen has spoken of her time as a teenager when she became the first person in the Commonwealth to receive a lifesaving award for swimming.

She was talking in public for the first time since the death of Prince Philip and joined a video call with the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) - of which she has been Patron since 1952.

"The problem of drowning is very much an international problem," the Queen said during the call after being told how there are still 235,000 drowning deaths across the world each year.

The RLSS, which was founded in 1891, works to eliminate preventable deaths from drowning across 30 countries of the Commonwealth.

 The Queen remembered how she had swimming lessons in the pool at the Bath Club, a gentleman’s club in Mayfair where she went with her sister Margaret.

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

The Queen was the first recipient of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Junior Respiration Award. Credit: Buckingham Palace

She chuckled when she was told on the video call by the Deputy Commonwealth President that it was 80 years ago and that she was actually the first recipient of the Society’s Junior Respiration Award.

"I didn’t realise I was the first one. I just did it – and had to work very hard for it," the Queen said, adding: "I didn’t really realise what I was doing. I think I must have been 12 or something or 14?"

"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 told her audience.

The Queen wearing the award on her swimming suit as a teenager. Credit: Buckingham Palace

She also heard from two of the Society’s members who spoke about how they had both saved children’s lives after giving them CPR.

Sarah Downs from Exeter in Devon and Tanner Gorille from Cape Town in South Africa are both recipients of the Society’s Russell Award – an annual award which recognises for the most outstanding resuscitation by a member under the age of 18.

She told them that their work as lifeguards was "splendid" and said "it’s very interesting to hear all about what’s been happening with the Royal Life Saving Society."

She also presented the King Edward VII cup to Dr Stephen Beerman who’s worked for the Canadian and Commonwealth Royal Life Saving Societies to prevent deaths from drowning.

 The cup is currently in the UK and the Queen joked that it was "a very large cup which one day you might see if you come to London."