Queen revealed Prince Philip’s ‘greatest life achievement’ to Londoner

Gold award holder Doyin Sonibare told ITV News London she was definitely "a little bit nervous" as she spoke to the Queen - and an worldwide audience of millions

Westminster Abbey video courtesy of BBC Studios Events

The Queen told a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award winner she was proud of what her husband had achieved for young people, adding it was one of his “greatest life achievements”.

Doyin Sonibare, from East London, spoke personally with the Queen at Westminster Abbey after delivering a special tribute at Prince Philip’s memorial service.

Speaking ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend the 28-year-old recalled memories of the day she addressed the Royal Family, politicians and a worldwide TV audience of millions.

“I remember the moment when I found out about the opportunity to speak at Westminster Abbey. I was at work, and I got an email from the Duke of Edinburgh Charity Office. I definitely was a little bit nervous. It was a mixture of nerves and excitement,” Doyin told ITV News.

“I definitely thought the night before that I was a little bit tense. But in the morning, I definitely felt a lot more relaxed,” she added.

Before embarking on her first DofE expedition Doyin had to overcome a fear of climbing steep hills and she had also never been camping before.

But she quickly picked up new skills which earned her silver and gold DofE awards and gave her essential life experience.

“When I gave the speech at Westminster Abbey, I spoke about how the award scheme helped me land my first job at the age of 18 in technology,” Doyin said.

“I don't think it would have been a career path I would have chosen if it wasn't for the experiences I had with the award,” she added.

Doyin on one of her first expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Duke of Edinburgh came up with the idea for a national programme to support young people’s development in 1954.

He wanted to bridge a gap between leaving formal education at 15 and entering into National Service at 18, to help people make the most of their free time and develop a sense of purpose.

The scheme continued to evolve and in 1980 the age limit was extended so that any young person aged 14 to 24 could take part.

And in 2020, young people played an important part in supporting communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 300,000 young people continued with their DofE activities dedicating nearly 2 million hours of volunteering to local communities.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunities that the Duke of Edinburgh Award has presented to me,” Doyin said.

And Doyin had a message for the Queen for her Platinum Jubilee Weekend: “My message to the Queen on her platinum jubilee is just to say thank you for all the support that you've given to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. It means a lot to so many young people, especially the participants who have been the vote over the last seven decades.”

This is The Royal Rota - our regular podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson.