Advertisement

Prince Edward Makes a Quip About His Age Before Turning 60 as Sophie Praises 'Darling' Husband in Sweet Speech

Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh called Prince Edward, "the best of fathers, the most loving of husbands and still is my best friend"

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty </p> Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

Prince Edward already got a special birthday gift from his wife, Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh.

On Friday, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, both 59, visited Headingley Stadium in Leeds for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on International Women’s Day. The couple are some of the only members of the British royal family undertaking public-facing duties while King Charles is receiving cancer treatment and Kate Middleton is privately recovering following abdominal surgery.

Prince Edward and Sophie smiled as they arrived at the stadium, where they hit the pitch to chat with kids and members of the Leeds Rhinos Women's Rugby League team. The royals were presented with official jerseys, and royal correspondent Richard Palmer of the Daily Express said that the Duke of Edinburgh joked about the “60” on his gift ahead of his 60th birthday on Sunday.

"Thanks a bunch. I really need to be reminded," Prince Edward said, Palmer wrote on X.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Related: Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh Quotes King Charles at Sexual Violence Survivors' Rights Conference in Ukraine

Prince Edward’s 59th birthday last March was especially memorable, as his elder brother King Charles pronounced him the new Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Edward and Sophie had previously been known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex, royal titles they received from Queen Elizabeth on their June 1999 wedding day, and the new dukedom was especially sentimental.

The title was created for Charles and Edward’s late father, Prince Philip, upon his marriage to the future Queen Elizabeth, and the late Queen was known as the Duchess of Edinburgh (like Sophie is now) before her accession to the throne in 1952.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Edward at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Prince Edward and Sophie got to watch some training before the Leeds Rhinos season officially begins, before moving inside for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards. The awards are organized by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, and celebrate “the full breadth and power of sport and recreation, from rowing projects and rugby clubs to inclusive sport charities and climbing centers,” a statement said.

The Duke of Edinburgh spoke on stage before passing the mic to his wife, who made a heartfelt speech shouting out her “darling” husband’s upcoming birthday. Sophie’s remarks were full of affection and humor, an unusually relaxed stance for a royal speech.

“First, may I say how wonderful it is to be here with so many people who are doing so much to change lives through grassroots sport. There have been some remarkable stories that have been honored today,” Sophie began, congratulating the Fulham Reach Boat Club’s recognition as Community Club of the Year.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Related: See Prince Edward and Sophie's Joint Coat of Arms After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Crest Caused a Stir

“I wanted to also take this opportunity to recognize another great milestone and share a small tribute to my darling husband as he celebrates his 60th birthday this Sunday. Now I know from the many years of marriage we have chalked up, 25 years in June to be precise, he will be horrified at seeing me up here speaking about him in public,” she continued. “Without looking at him, I am guessing he will now be sitting back with slightly narrowed eyes, possibly with his arms folded, or one arm stretched out across the table and to all intents and purposes looking identical to his father when I made speeches about him,” she said, referring to her late father-in-law, Prince Philip.

Sophie joked that her two previous speeches about Prince Philip in his presence made her feel like she was "about to launch myself out of an airplane without a parachute, but holding on to the vague hope of a soft landing," as the royal didn't want compliments in favor of a focus on charitable work. Prefacing that her husband — “the man to whom I am so proud to be married” — was the same, the Duchess of Edinburgh praised his dedication to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award youth organization and other causes.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh at Headingley Stadium for the Community Sport and Recreation Awards on March 8.

“He takes undoubted pride in his military affiliations too. Not only do I think that he wears a uniform extremely well, he takes an enormous interest in their vital work and loves nothing better than to go offline and spend happy hours talking one-to-one with those who do so much to serve our country,” Sophie said.

“He has been my guide and shown me the way over the years. He has given me much help and advice (not always taken, I admit), and his knowledge and instincts that have been honed over decades of service are invaluable — so we share speech notes (not this one, sorry darling!), chat through issues our patronages may be tackling and together I think we make quite a good team,” she continued.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

Sophie compared her husband's work to an iceberg, saying that what is seen is only a portion of what he does and adding that he always gives "150% of himself."

"Like my father-in-law, my husband never seeks compliments for himself," she said. "So when acknowledgment has come his way it has always been a total surprise to him, which is why I am grateful for this chance to, for once, be able to publicly celebrate and compliment him."

“He was so happy and humbled when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth made him a Knight of The Garter in 2006 and was equally delighted and moved the day His Majesty The King – who we are both incredibly proud to support – made him Duke of Edinburgh. Both he deserves in equal measure, and I am so proud of the man he is,” Sophie said.

<p> Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards at Headingley Stadium on March 8.

“He is the best of fathers, the most loving of husbands and still is my best friend,” she continued. “So here's to you, my darling Edward, and may I along with all your family and so many friends and many others wish you the happiest of birthdays!”

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, who are parents to Lady Louise Windsor, 20, and James, Earl of Wessex, 16, then shared a sweet hug, and Prince Edward was presented with an early birthday cake.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.