Prince Harry poses for a photo during the recording of his introduction to the new animated special, Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine. Picture: AP
Prince Harry poses for a photo during the recording of his introduction to the new animated special, Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine. Picture: AP

Harry’s special tribute to childhood favourite

Prince Harry has recorded a special message to mark the 75th anniversary of his childhood favourite program Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Duke of Sussex, 35, spoke of his "fond memories" watching the show in an introduction to a special episode starring the Queen and a young Prince Charles, reports The Sun.

The celebratory episode, Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine, will see Thomas travel to London for the first time on a mission to take Fat Controller Sir Topham Hatt to Buckingham Palace to receive an honour.

 

Prince Harry recorded the introduction in January in London, before he and his family moved to Los Angeles. Picture: AP
Prince Harry recorded the introduction in January in London, before he and his family moved to Los Angeles. Picture: AP

 

In his on-camera introduction - which was recorded in January before he moved to North America - Prince Harry reads from a book about Thomas while sitting in an armchair.

He said: "Thomas the Tank Engine has been a comforting, familiar face to so many families over the last 75 years - entertaining, educating and inspiring children on important issues through exciting stories and characters.

"I certainly have fond memories of growing up with Thomas & Friends and being transported to new places through his adventures.

"I am very proud to have been asked to take part in this special episode. I wish Thomas & Friends a very happy anniversary."

Prince Harry was a huge fan of the series growing up, and even carried a Thomas the Tank Engine bag on his first day at kindergarten in September 1987.

This special tribute is one of Prince Harry's first projects to be released since he stepped down as a senior royal, with the split becoming official in March.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently in isolation in Los Angeles with their baby Archie.

In the 22-minute special episode, Sir Topham Hatt has been invited to London by the Queen to receive an award for distinguished service to the railway, and a young Charles has asked that Thomas be the engine to bring him.

 

The episode features an animated Queen and Prince Charles as a boy. Picture: AP
The episode features an animated Queen and Prince Charles as a boy. Picture: AP

Thomas gets lost along the way and meets the royal train, called the Duchess of Loughborough, voiced by actress Rosamund Pike.

The Gone Girl star said: "It is an absolute honour to have the chance to appear in the show.

"I take it as a big responsibility to play Duchess who is a lovely, warm, bubbly sort of effervescent engine that I am incredibly drawn to because she is very anxious to get things right."

 

Prince Harry with his Thomas the Tank Engine bag in 1987. Picture: AP
Prince Harry with his Thomas the Tank Engine bag in 1987. Picture: AP

 

Prince Harry said that Thomas the Tank Engine was one of his favourites as a little boy. Picture: AP
Prince Harry said that Thomas the Tank Engine was one of his favourites as a little boy. Picture: AP

 

Chuck Scothon, of toy company Mattel, added: "Since the beginning, Thomas & Friends has celebrated friendship and teamwork through storytelling which has cultivated fan love across generations.

"In this milestone 75th year, we are releasing more storytelling content than ever before to engage the next generation of fans.

"While families are spending more time at home, we are able to offer new content to enjoy together across videos, books, apps and through music and podcasts and are thrilled Harry, The Duke of Sussex is introducing this special."

 

The special royal episode marks the 75th anniversary of the beloved children’s TV show. Picture: AP
The special royal episode marks the 75th anniversary of the beloved children’s TV show. Picture: AP

 

The special episode will air in early May.

The Railway Series was created by British clergyman the Rev Wilbert Awdry 75 years ago as a bedtime storybook for his young son, Christopher, during a bout of the measles.

Popular character Thomas doesn't appear in the debut story, but he got his own illustrated book in 1946 - and swiftly became the main favourite.

Thomas and Friends is now owned by Mattel and airs in over 160 countries worldwide.

 

Prince Harry filmed the introduction before moving to the US. Picture: AP
Prince Harry filmed the introduction before moving to the US. Picture: AP

This story was originally published in The Sun but is reprinted with permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Harry's special tribute to childhood favourite