In collaboration with her patronage the National Portrait Gallery, the Duchess of Cambridge has launched a new photography project to reflect the sense of community, acts of bravery and kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement about the effort called Hold Still, the Duchess said: "We’ve all been struck by some of the incredible images we’ve seen which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable."
In a video call with ITV's This Morning hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Kate discussed the project. Kate spoke about home schooling "George gets very upset because he wants to do all of Charlotte's projects. Spider sandwiches are far cooler than literacy work." Kate also joked about taking Louis' birthday photos "I should have taken a photograph of what I looked like after as well, luckily that wasn’t documented but I was pretty much, I looked like Louis at the end of those." Kate said the family hadn't used Face Time much before, but are availing of it to keep in touch with family.
Victoria Murphy reports:
'The palace described the project as “completely free and open to all ages and abilities,” adding that “Hold Still will serve to allow the nation to capture a snapshot of the UK at this time, creating a collective portrait of lockdown which will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, and human tragedy and hope.”
“Even if we are alone, we can all create something together,” Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery London, said. “We are honoured to partner with The Duchess of Cambridge on the Hold Still project, which will provide an inclusive perspective on, and an important historical record of, these unprecedented times, expressed through the faces of the nation.”'
More from People:
'Kate, who is patron of the National Portrait Gallery, will take part in the curation of the exhibition, which she and the National Portrait Gallery hope to be able to show around the U.K. when the time and circumstances allow.
The collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery came from discussions between Kate and the museum. “It is something she is really driving,” a royal source says. “It focuses on the human story of lockdown and their experiences. It hopes to capture a moment in time.”
“It will act as a reminder of the significance of human connection in times of adversity, and that although we were physically apart, as a community and nation, we all faced and rose to the challenge together,” Kate's office says.'
The Mirror reports Kate selected several photos she found particularly moving as examples of images she's seen in recent weeks.
'Kate’s choices include a heartbreaking shot of intensive care nurse Aimee Gould’s face covered in red marks from PPE after a 13-hour shift treating sick patients at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital.
Aimee, who shared the selfie online, wrote: “This is the face going through hell. This is the face full of pressure damage from wearing PPE for almost 13 hours a day. This is the face of someone who hasn’t seen their own family for nearly a month. “This is the face of someone who holds your dying family member’s hand, so they’re never alone.”
Another snap shows Ray and Theresa Cossey, both 81, in lockdown in Norfolk and their great-grandchildren Florence, three, and Edith, one, trying to touch them through glass.'
Aimee Gould's post laid bare the horrifying reality facing those on the front lines. The ICU nurse wrote: "This is the face of an ICU nurse. This is the face of working 65 hours over the last 6 days. This is the face of reality. This is the face going through hell. This is the face full of pressure damage from wearing PPE for almost 13 hours a day. This is the face of someone who fears for her own health and all her colleagues, past and present. This is the face of someone putting their life on the line for your families. This is the face of someone who hasn’t seen their own family for nearly a month. This is the face of someone who holds your dying family members hand, so they’re never alone. This is the face of someone who is exhausted, but will continue to fight Covid-19. This is the face of someone who will carry on, no matter what. This is the face of someone who is proud to stand on the frontline with all key workers."
I imagine we'll see several images by the Duchess feature in the final exhibition. We've already seen references to the current crisis in Kate's photographs of her children. Below Louis creating a rainbow, a symbol of support from children all over the UK to NHS staff. We also see Charlotte delivering packages, including homemade pasta, to vulnerable people in Norfolk.
In January, it was revealed the Duchess had photographed two Holocaust survivors, Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein, with their grandchildren, for a new exhibition which brought together 75 images of survivors with their loved ones to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. I thought Kate did a beautiful job with the portraits and look forward to seeing possible contributions for Hold Still.
Kate's summery yellow floral print dress comes from British brand Raey (with thanks to UFO No More). The piece is described as: "Adorned with a whimsical brown, light-green and pink tree print, Raey's yellow silk dress is ideal for a summery lunch date. It's made in the UK to a flowing, draped silhouette with a round neck and bracelet-length sleeves."
The dress is just sold out, but for those searching for alternatives, there's a plethora available across online retailers at the moment. Below the Margauz Midi Dress by a brand Kate's fond of Ghost, the Rixo Gemma dress and the Floral & Metallic Stripe Button Front Maxi Dress from Nordstrom.