Queen, 95, Remembers Taking Lifesaving Course At 14

May 11, 2021 by apost team

Queen Elizabeth II is an extraordinary woman who's achieved a lot in her 95 years. Of those years, she's been the queen of the United Kingdom and 15 Commonwealth realms for over 69 years, which is an incredible feat. Furthermore, her lengthy reign has earned her a score of titles, including the fourth longest-reigning monarch in human history. She took the spot in 2020 after making it to her 68th year as queen.

But that's not the only title she holds — she's already the longest-reigning British monarch, a feat she achieved in Sep. 2015. In fact, she's got titles aplenty — the longest-lived British monarch, the longest-reigning current monarch, and the world's longest-serving female head of state in history, among others. Queen Elizabeth II is truly an incredible woman and even at 95 years old, it really looks like there's no stopping her. 

But what's just as fascinating is her early life before she became the queen. Although she's a royal (not to mention the queen), she certainly wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty in her youth. At 19 years old she entered into the Auxiliary Territorial Service where she trained as a mechanic for six weeks, becoming the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time active member. She even participated during the Second World War, showing a brave face while serving actively.

Another example of her adventurous past came out recently when the queen was on a video call with the Royal Life Saving Society. In it, she recounted receiving the society's Junior Respiration Award at the tender age of 14. Let's take a look.

In the video call, which took place this month, Queen Elizabeth II is in conversation with the Deputy President of the Royal Life Saving Society Clive Holland, Dr. Stephen Beerman, who hails from Canada and is the recipient of the society's 2020 King Edward VII Cup, and two young lifesavers — Sarah Downs from Exeter, United Kingdom, and Tanner Gorille from Cape Town, South Africa. 

The occasion of the call was a virtual ceremony in which the queen was presenting Dr. Beerman with the 2020 King Edward VII Cup. Although he already received a medal, which he displayed proudly, he, unfortunately, was not able to see the cup in person yet as it is in London. After presenting the honor to Dr. Beerman, the deputy president of the society mentioned the queen's own honors that she received many decades earlier.

In February 1941, at the tender age of 14, the queen received the Royal Life Saving Society's Junior Respiration Award and was in fact the first person in the Commonwealth to receive the award. This even surprised her, as she recalled:

"I didn't realise I was the first one — I just did it, and had to work very hard for it! 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."

The award is given to young people under the age of 18 and provides an example to others, as it also helps establish lifesaving and resuscitation qualifications across the Commonwealth.


Queen Elizabeth II (1939), (ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The two young lifesavers, who have both received the society's Russell Medal in the past — Downs in 2018 and Gorille in 2016 — then gave their own accounts of their heroic life-saving rescues. The award is given to people under the age of 18 who display bravery and quick thinking under pressure. 

Downs recalled her rescue effort, which took place at Middlemore Pool in Exeter when a young boy had a silent fit underwater. After performing CPR on him, she managed to save his life due to her fast-thinking actions.

Meanwhile, Gorille, who is a lifesaver on beaches and tidal pools in Cape Town, had a similarly heroic story when he performed resuscitation on a young woman and managed to keep her stable until paramedics arrived.

Queen Elizabeth praised their separate life-saving efforts after hearing their stories. Downs then asked the queen about her own experience receiving her award 80 years earlier, to which Her Majesty replied:

"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."

Founded in 1891 in London, the Royal Life Saving Society works across many Commonwealth countries and aims to eliminate preventable death by drowning, promote water safety, and deliver education for life-saving and lifeguarding. 

This story is yet another example of Queen Elizabeth's incredible life story and just how much she has achieved.

Queen Elizabeth II (1939), (J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

What did you think of Queen Elizabeth's life-saving award that she received while still a teenager? If you found this article inspiring, be sure to spread it to those you know!

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