Prince Harry, Thomas & Friends

Mattel

Prince Harry is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Thomas the Tank Engine in a very special way.

The 35-year-old Duke of Sussex marked the major milestone by recording an introduction for a new episode called Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine.           

"It all began when a young boy lay ill in bed. His loving father entertained him with stories of a special railway on the magical island of Sodor," Prince Harry said while citing the character's creator Rev. Wilbert Awdry, who came up with train tales to entertain his son Christopher while the little one was sick with the measles. "Those stories would go on to become the tales of the most iconic tank engine the world has ever known, Thomas the Tank Engine... Thomas & Friends is celebrating 75 years of friendship and teamwork."

The celebratory episode, which was announced on Tuesday, pays tribute to The Royal Family. According to a press release shared by Mattel, the owner of the Thomas the Tank Engine brand, Thomas heads to London for the very first time to take Sir Topham Hatt to Buckingham Palace. The special even features Queen Elizabeth II and a young Prince Charles as animated characters.

There's also a new tank engine character named Duchess of Loughborough, who is voiced by Rosamund Pike.

"Duchess has a very, very important job in that she transports The Royal Family, which is obviously a very exciting job but comes with a great responsibility. You don't really want anything to go wrong when you have very important passengers," the actress said in a video shared by Hello!. "She's a brave little engine. She's lovely. She's charming. She can seem a little rude at times, but it's only because of her, sort of, anxiety. Actually, she's a very, very warm, friendly engine who's looking for friends."

Prince Harry, Thomas The Tank Engine

Martin Cleaver/AP/Shutterstock

In a statement released by Mattel, Prince Harry, who officially stepped back as a senior royal earlier this month, called Thomas the Tank Engine a "comforting, familiar face to so many families over the last 75 years."

"I certainly have fond memories of growing up with Thomas & Friends and being transported to new places through his adventures," he added in the statement, which was obtained by CNN.

In fact, Prince Harry was pictured carrying a Thomas the Tank Engine lunch box as a child back in 1987.  

According to ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship, the recording "was not one of Harry's paid jobs." The journalist claimed Mattel made a donation, which he reported is being used for environment and sustainability projects under Prince Harry's organization Travalyst.

Awdry released the book, The Railway Series, in 1945. While Thomas the Tank Engine didn't appear in the story, he got his own book in 1946. The stories were later turned into an animated series.

Fans can watch Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine in the U.S. starting May 1 via Netflix. According to the Associate Press (via ABC News), it will also air on Channel 5′s Milkshake show in the U.K. the next day and be broadcasted in Canada and Australia later that month.

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