Prince Harry has recorded a special introduction to a 75th anniversary episode of children’s series “Thomas the Tank Engine” that will launch on Netflix in the U.S. on May 1 and on ViacomCBS-owned Channel 5′s “Milkshake” strand in the U.K. the following day.
Prince Harry introduces an episode called “Thomas and Friends: The Royal Engine,” which has a storyline that includes Harry’s father and grandmother, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II, as animated characters.
Set when the Prince of Wales was a boy, the story sees the friendly engine taking Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway, to Buckingham Palace to receive an honor.
Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl,” “State of the Union”) also guest stars as a new locomotive character, the Duchess of Loughborough, for the special 22-minute episode.
In his introduction — which was recorded in January before his move overseas — Prince Harry is seen sitting in an armchair, reading from a book about the train’s adventures.
“‘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,” the Duke Of Sussex said.
“I certainly have fond memories of growing up with ‘Thomas & Friends’ and being transported to new places through his adventures,” Prince Harry continued.
In January, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, announced they planned to quit as senior royals, seek financial independence and move to North America. The couple are currently in California.
The Rev. Wilbert Awdry released the first book in “The Railway Series” 75 years ago. It was originally created as a bedtime story for his son, Christopher, during a bout of the measles.
The train tales were turned into a stop-motion animation series in the 1980s, moving into CGI in 2009. “Thomas and Friends,” owned by Mattel, is now on air in more than 160 countries worldwide.