Prince Harry wishes Rugby League a happy 125th birthday

Rugby league celebrates its 125th birthday on today with a contribution from the Duke of Sussex.

BIRTHDAY WISHES: From Prince Harry. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/

Prince Harry, who is patron of the Rugby Football League, talked via video link to players from all sections of the game about what it means to them and led the group in a set of six quiz as part of the birthday celebrations.

He said: "It can bring so many families together, bring so many people together... it doesn't matter whether you're in the stands, whether you're the groundsman, whether you're a player, whether you're a fan or whether you're a first time watcher, every single person is bound by this family feeling."

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The Duke surprised the group by introducing his own special guest - former Wigan and Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley.

BIRTHPLACE: The George Hotel, Huddersfield. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/

Rugby league is one of the few sports that can point to the time and date of its founding - 6.30 pm on Thursday, August 29, 1895, when 21 club representatives met at the George Hotel in

Huddersfield to resolve a dispute with the Rugby Football Union over broken-time payments to players and voted to break away from the governing body.

The result was the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union which later became the Rugby Football League and officials were gathering in St George's Square in Huddersfield on Saturday to mark the anniversary.

The function was organised by Kirklees Council, who recently took ownership of the George Hotel which will become home to the new National Rugby League Museum.

International Rugby League chairman Greg Barclay sent his best wishes to the organisers, saying: "This is a proud day for everyone involved in our great sport.

"We have a very long and proud history which deserves to be recognised across the sporting landscape.

"I would like to pay tribute to those that have gone before, offer my thanks and admiration to those currently involved and encouragement to those who are still to discover this great game.

"Next year will see the latest iteration of the oldest rugby world cup when we gather in England to enjoy RLWC2021, it will be a sporting event to rival anything and we are all looking forward to it."