Touching moment Rob Burrow smiles as he’s presented with his CBE by Prince William – alongside his beaming wife and daughters who said it was an ‘honour’ to meet a future King

Rob Burrow appeared touched as the Prince of Wales told him that ‘we’re all so proud of you’ while visiting Headingley Stadium in Leeds – to present the rugby legend with his CBE for raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) after being diagnosed in 2019.

The royal also presented Rob, 41, with the medal – still in its box – as he lauded the former athlete’s legacy and efforts in campaigning.

‘Thank you and congratulations – for all the inspirational work you’ve done, Rob,’ Prince William said as the sporting icon was surrounded by his beaming wife and their children in a video shared by BBC Breakfast on X.

You’ve been amazing, you really have and everyone’s so proud of you.

‘We’ve all been following your case. You’ve changed so many people’s lives with MND with what you’ve done. We’re all so proud of you.’

Rob Burrow appeared touched as the Prince of Wales told him that 'we're all so proud of you' while visiting Headingley Stadium in Leeds to present the rugby legend with his CBE for raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Rob Burrow appeared touched as the Prince of Wales told him that ‘we’re all so proud of you’ while visiting Headingley Stadium in Leeds to present the rugby legend with his CBE for raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

The royal also placed the CBE around his friend Kevin Sinfield’s neck and praised his ‘brotherly bond’ with Rob.

The rugby coach, 43, touched the country’s heart when he carried his friend over the finishing line of the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in May.

‘The relationship between you two has been so amazing to watch,’ William continued. ‘An inspiration for everyone to kind of go like ‘this is how we help each other’.’

While touring the stadium, Rob told the royal it was ‘an honour’ to meet him and revealed that his daughters have been practicing their curtsies ahead of today.

He also recounted recently meeting Zara Tindall – William’s cousin – and her husband – for his podcast, where Mike Tindall revealed that the Prince of Wales is nicknamed One Pint Willy ‘because he’s not the best of drinkers’.

‘You got the nicknames out of him,’ William laughed. ‘He apologised to me for that!’

Rob’s daughters also left the Prince of Wales touched when they presented the royal with bags of of presents for his three children – which included a hat, shirt, fleece and a book.

‘You’re so sweet guys, thank you so much,’ he said. ‘Look it’s a book! How fantastic, I’ve not seen this book yet. Thank you so much.’

This is the adorable moment Rob's two daughters readied themselves for meeting royalty today

This is the adorable moment Rob’s two daughters readied themselves for meeting royalty today

Rob's daughters also left the Prince of Wales touched when they presented the royal with bags of of presents for his three children - which included a hat, shirt, fleece and a book

Rob’s daughters also left the Prince of Wales touched when they presented the royal with bags of of presents for his three children – which included a hat, shirt, fleece and a book

Rob, 41, and his friend Kevin Sinfield showing their CBEs at Headingley Stadium in Leeds, where Prince William visited today

Rob, 41, and his friend Kevin Sinfield showing their CBEs at Headingley Stadium in Leeds, where Prince William visited today

Pictured: The Prince of Wales meeting former rugby league player Rob to congratulate him for raising awareness of MND

Pictured: The Prince of Wales meeting former rugby league player Rob to congratulate him for raising awareness of MND

Earlier in the day, Rob’s daughter’s also readied themselves for meeting royalty.

In another sweet video shared by BBC Breakfast on X, Macy, 11, and Maya, eight, rehearsed their curtsies ahead of the exciting encounter.

Both girls donned smart navy dresses, perfect for today’s occasion.

‘I’m really excited to meet Prince William,’ Macy told the camera. ‘He is a future king, it’s an honour to meet him.’

‘Me too,’ little Maya agreed, smiling in the video.

William was greeted by Rob and Kevin inside the stadium, saying: ‘I don’t know how much of surprise it is that I am here to see you. Rob, very nice to finally see you. How are you feeling today.’

The Prince also asked whether Rob’s speech aide was working, adding: ‘An IT glitch? It will be my fault. Everything I touch breaks whenever I talk about IT.

‘Happy New Year. It’s very nice to finally get to meet you, Rob. I’ve met Kevin before. My aunt I think gave you your MBE a few years ago. I’m seeing where your home has been.’

With the help of his wife, Rob replied through his speech aide: ‘ I want to thank you for coming today. It is an honour to meet you. I am feeling good and I am lucky to have the wonderful support of my family and children.’

Kevin and Rob then showed William the club’s ‘hall of fame’, which features several images of them over the years playing top-flight rugby league.

‘You were quite a successful combination, you two,’ the Prince said. ‘Quick hands, quick feet Rob.’

Kevin explained how they had come up together as young men through the club system, making their debuts for Leeds Rhinos when they were in their teens.

The corridor also boasts a picture of the pair shortly after Rob’s diagnosis when they joined fellow professionals for a game to raise funds for MND.

A sweet video shared by BBC Breakfast showed Macy, 11, and Maya, eight, rehearsing a curtsy ahead of the exciting encounter

A sweet video shared by BBC Breakfast showed Macy, 11, and Maya, eight, rehearsing a curtsy ahead of the exciting encounter

Rob and Kevin enjoyed a chat with William, who praised the pair for their fundraising efforts and 'brotherly bond'

Rob and Kevin enjoyed a chat with William, who praised the pair for their fundraising efforts and ‘brotherly bond’

Rob and his family pictured with Prince William, who presented the sporting legend with a CBE today

Rob and his family pictured with Prince William, who presented the sporting legend with a CBE today

He also told the Prince – who laughed uproariously at the story – about how Rob was such a joker in his time that he once stole a player’s pair of brand new white Calvin Klein underpants and smeared with them a Jaffa Cake when he was out of the room.

‘He was always playing tricks,’ said Kevin. ‘Always up to mischief.’

‘He was cheeky, yes?’ Smiled the future king. ‘Oh no, that’s a very good joke. Did he ever get you back again?’

Rob also broke out into a broad smile.

William later told Rob’s family he didn’t dare repeat the story as his own children would be tempted to play the same prank and ‘sort him out’.

Afterwards they walked out onto the Headingley pitch, where the two men had spent so many of the years together playing.

William then joined the families of the two men in the players’ changing rooms, telling them: ‘I have been given the guided tour, very cool, all the histories of the club. Lots of pictures of the daddies running around, who got most tries.’

The royal also sat down without ceremony on one of the seats with a list of questions which had been given to Rob in advance so that he could prepare his answers using his voice aide.

Rob told him: ‘I was always first into the dressing room. I used to get here quite a bit before the other lads and always got changed into my kit as soon as I got here. It wasn’t really a superstition more of a routine…. I used to love chatting to the rest of the lads.

‘As you can probably imagine… I’m sure some of the guys who were a bit more nervous than me could have done without me buzzing around but we all got on really well. It also meant I could play a joke on my team mates. You know what they say, the early bird…’

Speaking about his relationship with Kevin, Rob said he would would have done the same for him had the tables been reversed, but added: ‘It would have been tougher for me because he wore the number 13 shirt. He is superman to put his body through those challenges for the MND community. He is wonderful. It means so much to so many people. It was great last year to join him for the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon.

‘He’s goes pretty fast. At the end his competitive streak kicked in and he made sure that we crossed the finish line together. He knew that I would never let him forget it if I had beat him to the line.’

‘Technically you did actually beat him because you were in front of him,’ laughed William, referring to the way Kevin carried him.

The Prince added: ‘It is amazing what you two have done, honestly. The amount of money you have raised and the profile you have done for MND is just phenomenal. You should be so proud both of you what you have done.

‘Everyone is talking about it now. And, Rob, for you to continue to do what you have done has been truly exceptional, it really is. I know the support you have had from your wife and family you wouldn’t have done it without them.

‘Both of you are inspirations, it has been phenomenal watching you, it is seriously impressive, it really is. I am in awe and I think a lot of people are.

‘It’s also the bond of camaraderie and the sporting relationship you two have clearly built up over the years of playing together that is so wonderful to see still going.

‘It’s wonderful to watch.’

Kevin added that although he and Rob communicated differently now, their bond – forged by playing together for 15 years – was still the same.

William also told Rob that he must have been ‘pretty fearless’ because he ‘isn’t the biggest guy to be playing’.

Rob replied: ‘When you are my size you learn pretty early on that it is best to keep going and run as fast as you can so the big fellas couldn’t get hold of me. I was fast on my feet but Kev used to think faster and get chances quicker than anyone.

William appeared in high spirits as he spent time with the rugby icon at Headingley Stadium  today

William appeared in high spirits as he spent time with the rugby icon at Headingley Stadium  today

‘We were so fortunate to grow up with a great group of players at the Rhinos. We played together from our earliest days at the club and we took that friendship through to the first team as we got older. ‘

When the prince asked him about living with MND, Rob explained: ‘It is not incurable. It has just been underfunded for too many years… hopefully through the campaigning we have done we have made people aware of MND and give people and the families affected by the disease some hope.

‘We have to keep raising funds to fight this disease and look after those with MND until we have a cure.

‘I am so lucky to have such a great support network in my family. I wouldn’t be here without the support and love of my wife, Lindsey. She’s stronger than any rugby player I have played against. There is no point feeling sorry for myself. It won’t change the situation. Doddie [Weir, a fellow rugby player and MND sufferer] taught me to live each day to its fullest.’

Lindsey praised her husband, who she described as a private family man, for opening up about his fight against MND.

‘I don’t think there has been a more successful awareness or funds raising campaign than you two of done,’ William has said. ‘You’ve gone out there and shown the world. It’s incredible.’

William and Rob also discussed his plans for a the Rob Burrow centre for MND sufferers to be built in Leeds to bring care for those affected under one roof.

The Prince of Wales also appeared to be in high spirits as he greeted the nationally revered rugby legend and his friend Kevin

The Prince of Wales also appeared to be in high spirits as he greeted the nationally revered rugby legend and his friend Kevin

Kensington Palace said William wanted to personally thank and congratulate them on their remarkable efforts

Kensington Palace said William wanted to personally thank and congratulate them on their remarkable efforts

The sporting legend later said that he was proud to accept the CBE on behalf of the MND community

The sporting legend later said that he was proud to accept the CBE on behalf of the MND community

William also appeared to be in equally high spirits as he greeted the nationally revered rugby legend and Kevin today

William also appeared to be in equally high spirits as he greeted the nationally revered rugby legend and Kevin today

The rugby legend said: ‘The NHS staff here in Leeds are fantastic but the current building is not fit for purpose. The new centre will have everything under one roof.’

He added he would let the prince know the date and ‘he can join him to cut the ribbon’.

‘Of course, Rob,’ the royal promised.

William added: ‘I hope you know, Rob, what an inspiration who are to those with MND.’

‘Thank you. That’s very kind. I can honestly say that I never set out to be an inspiration in just wanted to try and help other people in a similar situation to me,’ Rob replied.

‘I am just trying to live my best life with the cards that I have been dealt and I am fortunate to have a wonderful life, three beautiful children, a loving family and wonderful friends. I enjoyed a career in a sport I love. I have been fortunate through MND to be able to help others and that is something I am proud to do.’

‘You have done that 20 times over, Rob, ‘ said William. ‘You are amazing.’

The sporting legend later said that he was proud to accept the CBE on behalf of the MND community.

‘Days like these allow us to keep the spotlight on the disease,’ he added.

‘It was wonderful that His Royal Highness was able to come to Headingley to see us and very much appreciated. It was lovely to talk to him and for him to meet my family.’

William is expected to speak with Rob and Kevin about their playing days at Leeds Rhinos, where they were teammates from 2001 to 2015 and won a slew of trophies together including three World Club titles

William is expected to speak with Rob and Kevin about their playing days at Leeds Rhinos, where they were teammates from 2001 to 2015 and won a slew of trophies together including three World Club titles

Kevin also remarked: ‘It is great to be here alongside Rob and our families. We understand that we represent a beautiful community and an incredible team. There’s been a big team effort.

‘This gives recognition to all the people who help Rob and I with all the challenges and the fundraising.

‘We will continue to do what we do. I just see this as going for a run for a mate. A lot of people have done wonderful things across the world at different times, I’ve just done a bit of running. That’s why it’s quite humbling today.’

Rob, a former captain of the Leeds Rhinos and member of the British rugby league teams, got diagnosed with MND in 2019.

Inspired by Rob’s bravery in devoting the rest of his life to raise awareness and funds for those affected by the incurable, merciless degenerative condition affecting the brain and nerves, Kevin has helped him raise more than £15 million for charity through a series of staggering endurance challenges.

Kensington Palace said William wanted to personally thank and congratulate them on their remarkable efforts.

His wife, the Princess of Wales, is patron of The Rugby Football League, while his aunt, Princess Anne, is royal patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Rob, a married father of three young children, is now unable to talk but can articulate his thoughts through Eyegaze, a device which translates blinks into letters and then builds them into words on a screen.

MND sees messages from motor neurones in the brain and the spinal cord, which tell the body’s muscles what to do, gradually stop working.

This causes the muscles to weaken, stiffen and waste.

Symptoms progress at varying speeds but sufferers will often experience problems in walking, talking, eating, drinking and breathing.

Inspired by Rob's bravery in devoting the rest of his life to raise awareness and funds for those affected by MND , Kevin (right) has helped him raise more than £15 million for charity through a series of staggering endurance challenges

Inspired by Rob’s bravery in devoting the rest of his life to raise awareness and funds for those affected by MND , Kevin (right) has helped him raise more than £15 million for charity through a series of staggering endurance challenges

It is brutal and life-shortening.

While some can survive for many years, such as Professor Stephen Hawking who lived with the condition for 55 years, for many the prognosis is less than five years.

There is no cure and just one licensed drug in the UK which only has a ‘modest effect’ in slowing down progress of the disease.

Charities such as the Motor Neurone Disease Association work to support sufferers and their families, particularly with managing their quality of life, as well fund research to find a cure for the disease.

MND affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time – one in 300 people will be affected during their lifetime – and is more prevalent in people over the age of 50.

Rob was diagnosed with the disease in 2019 shortly after retiring from professional sport and was given just two years to live. William pictured with Rob and Kevin

Rob was diagnosed with the disease in 2019 shortly after retiring from professional sport and was given just two years to live. William pictured with Rob and Kevin

Rob was diagnosed with the disease in 2019 shortly after retiring from professional sport and was given just two years to live.

Since then he has defiantly fought its progress and devoted himself to fund-raising for a range of MND charities, as well as building a dedicated MND centre at the Seacroft Hospital in Leeds.

In his honour Kevin has tasked himself with several challenges for the cause: running seven marathons in seven days, 101 miles in 24 hours and then seven ultra-marathons in seven days.

He recently told the Daily Mail: ‘The very best of us are diagnosed with MND. They are fighters. They have unbelievable spirit. But it’s so difficult for family and friends because what MND does to the body is so gruesome and tragic and some people can’t face it.

The Prince then plans to join a conversation with both men and their families to hear more about their efforts over the past four years to champaign and support those impacted by MND across the UK and Ireland.  Pictured with Rob

The Prince then plans to join a conversation with both men and their families to hear more about their efforts over the past four years to champaign and support those impacted by MND across the UK and Ireland.  Pictured with Rob

William pictured meeting Rob, his family, and friend Kevin at Headingley Stadium in Leeds today

William pictured meeting Rob, his family, and friend Kevin at Headingley Stadium in Leeds today

William pictured posing with Kevin and his wife, Jayne, after presenting him with a CBE at the stadium today

William pictured posing with Kevin and his wife, Jayne, after presenting him with a CBE at the stadium today

Kevin touched the country's heart when he carried his friend over the finishing line of the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in May

Kevin touched the country’s heart when he carried his friend over the finishing line of the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in May

Both Kevin and Rob received CBEs in the 2024 New Years Honours List. Rob pictured playing rugby in 2020

Both Kevin and Rob received CBEs in the 2024 New Years Honours List. Rob pictured playing rugby in 2020

Pictured: Rob and wife Lindsey during day one of 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge from Headingley to York Minster last year

Pictured: Rob and wife Lindsey during day one of 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge from Headingley to York Minster last year

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