Sunday, 15 November 2020

UPDATED: The Duchess Thanks Hold Still Photographers As Community Exhibition Draws to a Close

In a video message released to coincide with the end of the Hold Still community exhibition, the Duchess of Cambridge took the opportunity to thank everyone who submitted photographs for the project. The collaboration with Kate's patronage, the National Portrait Gallery, captured glimpses of the nation amidst the challenge of a generation. In normal times, such an exhibition would have been displayed in the gallery, with opening events and perhaps a gala evening. Due to the pandemic, it required quite a bit of imagination to bring it to communities and cities across the UK...and thus the community exhibition was born. The images have adorned billboards and sites for the past four months. In addition the digital exhibition has been viewed over 5.2 million times.

The Duchess said, "I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an image to Hold Still. I launched the project with the National Portrait Gallery back in May because I wanted to find a way to allow everyone to share their stories and experiences of lockdown. We have been thrilled by the response to the project and I couldn’t be more grateful to each and every one of the 31,000 people who submitted an image. It was so hard to select the final 100 photographs but we hope we have created a collective portrait of our nation, reflecting on what others have experienced as well as our own journeys through this difficult time. It has been fantastic to see these portraits on billboards and outdoor poster sites across the country as part of our community exhibition, and I’m hugely grateful to all our partners for helping us take the images back to the people and communities who took them. For me, the most powerful part of the project is that it has shown just how much people and communities have come together and how important we all are to each other. Thank you so much for being part of Hold Still and for sharing your stories with the nation."

The video shared footage of a virtual call Kate had with Johannah Churchill, whose portrait of Melanie was recreated as a mural in Manchester. The evocative and moving image was one of the finest snapshots of the battle frontline workers were thrust into during the spring.

Kensington Palace revealed 'Melanie, March 2020' by Johannah Churchill, which captured Johannah’s colleague Melanie as she worked to set up a COVID clinic in London. Earlier this week, the Duchess spoke to Johannah and Dr Edward Cole -- who was also involved in setting up the clinic -- by video call. During the conversation, they discussed the important role the photograph has played in helping to represent the experiences of frontline workers across the nation as they continue to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

Johannah also told the Duchess how the image has led her to receive messages from medical staff across the UK and around the world, and has allowed them to share their own experiences of working during these extraordinary times.

More from Elle magazine:

'In September, Her Majesty the Queen expressed her own support for all those submitting an image, writing in a statement, “The Duchess of Cambridge and I were inspired to see how the photographs have captured the resilience of the British people at such a challenging time, whether that is through celebrating frontline workers, recognizing community spirit or showing the efforts of individuals supporting those in need.”

Kate, who is an accomplished photographer herself, has shot many notable portraits of her children throughout the years, and the Cambridges have shared them with the public on birthdays and other family occasions. She's also encouraged her children to salute and support frontline workers in the Clap for Carers campaign and delivered homemade pasta to homebound elderly living near the couple's Anmer Hall home during the pandemic.'

 If you haven't seen it yet, click here to explore the community exhibiton.

Next, it's time for Kate's looks in the video message.

Readers will recognise the Duchess' blazer with gathered shoulders as a ZARA style she wore during the London 2012 games. Kate teamed it with a cream top.

Embed from Getty Images

Kate's necklace is Alex Monroe's Paleontology Nugget style (with thanks to Royal Wikipedia). The £285 charm necklace features "fossilised nuggets etched with botanicals, animals and Alex’s iconic bumblebee!"

We also saw the Duchess in a previously unseen blue cardigan by Boden (with many thanks to Kate from the WKW community). 

The Abercorn Scallop cardigan in frosted blue is described as: "A scalloped collar and sophisticated gathered sleeves give it a feminine finish. The semi-fitted shape is flattering and comfortable, while a simple crew neck makes it versatile and easy to layer."

At present it's available in sizes 2-22 for £75/$110 on Boden's website. Below, a closer look at the scallop detail. 

The piece also comes in 'conker'. It's available at Nordstrom.

I know I speak for all of us when I say I look forward to the day Hold Still and many other exhibitions can be enjoyed and reflected upon in the NPG. An outstanding effort by all involved. Well done to Kate, the NPG and every single person who took the time to submit an image.


  1. Valerie in Arizona15 November 2020 at 02:10

    Amen, Charlotte, well said. I hope a book is forthcoming too :)

  2. Really lovely. Hold Still has been fantastic. Re Kates clothes, not in love with the blazer but that blue cardigan looks comfy.

  3. This was such a beautiful project. Fashionwise Kate looks very pale in the red which is unexpected because she wears red beautifully. Love the blue cardigan. Is there a live video available for that interview?

  4. Lovely post. Thank you Charlotte - Kate inspires me to do more when I am in a slump

  5. Terrye in Oklahoma15 November 2020 at 17:03

    Watching the video of Kate speaking about Hold Still, I reflected on the early years and the first public speeches. It has been a pleasure to watch Kate grow and change with experience, time, and maturity. I appreciate your chronicling all the stages of Kate and Williams's marriage and family life. Living in the United States, I treasured the sentence "For me, the most powerful part of the project is that it has shown how much people and communities can come together and how important we are to each other." The message of unity and individual value to the whole represents the best of leadership and public service, in my opinion, and one I hope we hear in the U.S. again soon. This project was not about celebrity, fund raising, or saving anyone or anything, it was about recognizing the common pain, sacrifice and suffering of all the people to defeat a deadly enemy, together. Well done, Kate!

    1. Thanks for this positive message. We have to stand together.

    2. I completely agree. Kate has grown in her role and comes across professionally with her public speaking.

      This is one of my favorite projects she has been involved in the last few years.

    3. I agree. A wonderful project, and shows it doesn't need to be always about money. She has achieved something much more precious than fundraising.

    4. Very well said Terrye, the spirit of this project really was about, and for the people. A living time capsule for the ages. cc

  6. I thought Kate looked great in both the red blazer and the lovely blue cardigan. These zoom calls are a lifesaver during this time allowing us to connect when we can't meet in person. Everyone please stay safe during the holidays! Wear masks, social distance, limit the numbers who meet at one time so we can beat this virus!!!!

  7. well i huge congratulation to the duchess holding hold still project that mirroring their different lifes of the people in the daily living due to the pandemic

  8. This was such a beautiful project. I wish someone would organize something similar in the US. we need a reminder that we are more alike than we seem to think, these days...

    NY, USA

  9. Absolutely beautiful!!! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  10. Nice follow up to this project. The Duchess looks lovely in the red blazer. I like her lighter hair. I echo what IntrigedByRoyals said : stay safe everyone ! This is not the time to give in or let our guard down, the world needs all of us to stay in the fight against this pandemic.

  11. Thank you for the post, Charlotte! The video where Kate thanks everyone involved is a treat - so simple, sincere and heart-warming. This is such an incredible project, and with murals and big pictures in public places it has entered yet another level. Excellent!
    I love the fact that Kate rewears a piece from 2012. Her hair looks fabulous. And I love the shade of her blue cardigan!

    1. +1 Zora!!! Everything about this project is definitely 'next level'! A very timeless project. cc

  12. Catherine looks lovely, relaxed and happy. Great project that will be a historical master piece in years to come. Catherine and William always put so much thoughts into their projects. They are a wonderful team.

  13. I don’t understand why the mural wasn’t a permanent one. It was such an impactful image.
    I don’t think we’ve seen or will see any other project that helps to build such a strong sense of community. As usually, the simplest things are always the ones that comforts people the most. Can you imagine when these pictures are shown at the NPG in ten or twenty years time to mark the anniversary of these terrible times? Just invaluable.

  14. What a fantastic project. Congratulations to the Duchess and all who submitted pictures.The Duchess has been doing some fantastic work during covid.The Duchess took her time finding her feet, and yes it is paying off now.I also think she really puts her heart into everything she does.

  15. Kate has certainly grown into a very confident and superb duchess! I’m so impressed by her choice of charities and projects as well as her inner (and outer!) beauty, kindness and strength of character.
    Royal 👑 Watcher

  16. Congratulations to the Duchess and to all those who contributed to the very meaningful project'Hold Still'UK have many heroes who provide strength for the nation during this challenging times of pandemic.

  17. Annette New Zealand20 November 2020 at 23:34

    I agree. At this time of bitter division, maybe the most important message the Royals can reinforce is to be kind. This means we must try to help those most in need in the face of increasing deaths and rising poverty and unemployment. Of course it is up to all of us, including the royal family, to take the practical steps needed to overcome the problems.


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