Prince Edward turned 58 on Thursday, and to mark the momentous event, the royal and the Countess of Wessex headed to Merseyside.
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The Count and Countess spent the day meeting with community leaders, charities and emergency services workers in order to hear more about the work they were doing to benefit the region. There was a particularly emotional moment for Sophie who took the opportunity to meet with 90-year-old Edna Farley, who had been speaking with the royal regularly on the telephone since the beginning of the pandemic as part of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme.
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Edna, who shares her birthday with the Prince, was invited for tea by the Countess.
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The royal couple started their day at the opening of the Ken Dodd Happiness Hall in Knotty Ash. The building used to be the school that the late Ken Dodd attended, but has since been transformed into a community centre in his memory.
At the Hall, they met with children who were dressed as the 'Diddy Men' to celebrate the late comedian as well as representatives from their patronages who were supporting people in Liverpool.
They also met with those who are attempting to help people in Ukraine, including Ukrainian clergyman Father Taras Khomych and Gosia McKane, the director of Merseyside Polonia, a Polish charity that has organised donations of clothing and other essential items for refugees from Ukraine arriving in Poland.
The Count and Countess started their day opening the Ken Dodd Happiness Hall
The royal couple's next stop was at Asylum Link Merseyside, where they met with case workers and volunteers who supported refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the country.
Edward and Sophie also met pupils learning English, and heard about the support they were receiving.
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As Sophie had tea with Edna, the Duke of Wessex officially opened Merseyside Police's new headquarters, and was introduced to police officers and cadets.
He also met with an honour guard of officers who had been in the force for 20 years, before the Police Band performed to mark his birthday.
The royal met with serving police officers
The Queen, who recently recovered from a battle with COVID-19, has also marked her youngest son's birthday, with the official Royal Family Twitter account sharing a photo of the two.
The photo was taken last October and showed Edward beaming as he attended the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay for Birmingham 2022, the XXII Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace.
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Her Majesty was also in attendance at the engagement in her role as Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, while Edward is Vice Patron.
"Wishing The Earl of Wessex a very Happy Birthday!" the caption on the Prince's birthday post read.
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