Monday, 10 May 2021

Duchess Kate Speaks to Mum & Daughter Behind Hold Still's 'Cancelled'

Today, the second in a series of telephone conversations the Duchess of Cambridge had with Hold Still participants last autumn was released.

'Cancelled' by Niaz Maleknia captured a feeling experienced by students all over the UK. Niaz wrote: "To be told that your A-level exams have been cancelled may seem like a dream come true. However in reality it's far from the truth. The class of 2020 have experienced disappointment at so many levels. Exams cancelled. Graduations and proms cancelled, not knowing how their university life will look. During lockdown I feel that there was not enough said about the disappointments that many of these students have had to face due to the Corona virus. In my opinion, they are the Silent Heroes. They will be the ones facing the ‘New Normal' as they step into their chosen paths after leaving school. I feel they went unnoticed in the main during this difficult time. However, they have also been one of the most affected and most patient groups."

Speaking to Niaz, the Duchess said, "Hello, very nice to chat to you. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for sending in your photograph. We thought it was fantastic." Niaz said she found the briefs for the project "really inspiring" and referenced Kate's keen interest in photography.

Kate said hello to Mia's daughter Romy, telling her she feels she knows her "so well" from the photo. 

"I think it's so important you know that your mum's really highlighted how much young people have been affected by lockdown and all of the disruptions that you had with work and with school and everything." Romy added: "I was in my last year of school so I was meant to do my A levels which is what the photo relates to. The photo was taken on what was supposed to be my last day of A levels."

Speaking about the impact on young people's mental health during the pandemic, Kate said, "Everyone has experienced something together in a way, so there's no shame in talking about it. And that's what we've been really keen to do, is break the stigma and try to start conversations around mental health."

Despite a very tough year, Romy has been accepted to Stanford University in California with an unconditional offer.

Mum Niaz continues to explore her passion for photography.

Last spring, as we saw the Royal family adjust to the "Zoom engagement", I thought to myself, when we reach a point where engagements are announced in advance we'll know a gradual return to normality has been realised. Fifteen months later, Kensington Palace did just that. On Thursday, William and Kate will undertake engagements in the West Midlands to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. The day will focus on "highlighting local organisations that support children and young people". This year's theme - nature - is very much in keeping with Kate's areas of focus.

On Friday, the Cambridges will participate in the annual Mental Health Minute, which will be broadcast across five hundred radio stations.


  1. Yeah happy they are announcing engagements in advance and look forward to seeing more engagements from Kate and some summer events including Wimbledon.

  2. Yesh mee too!!!

  3. I am very glad that this photo was chosen and that it highlights what students of 2020 and 2021 have had to face. Meaningful milestones have been canceled, postponed, and school as any of us knew it was changed significantly. As a grandmother with a grandchild who is a senior in high school, one of the most memorable school years has been whittled down to a virtual existence. In a Zoom parent/school conference regarding graduation, school officials state that it has been difficult in these last few months to keep the students motivated and turn in assignments, which has been a challenge not only for the students, but the parents, and the teachers. The isolation for some of these students has been difficult and especially during such an important education and social building time for our teens, it is important to stay on top of the mental state of mind. But through it all, I have also watched these students stay connected and help each other, not only with assignments, but to stay positive. Out of every adversity, comes something of greater value, and the will and the drive for us to be kind and help each other seems stronger, at least as I have witnessed with my grandchild and his classmates. It is very nice to see some follow up to these stories and the lifes behind the photos. There is something for everybody in this 'Hold Still' project that all of us can relate to in some form or another.

  4. WOW Charlotte, well done. I am a dear friend of Niaz's and so excited. It is a real mental challenge for me because i had no idea what "class of 2020" meant till now. Feels (everyday) like i just talked to the DoC myself. High Five Niaz 👌

  5. That is amazing! Please tell Niaz she is an enormously talented photographer and wish Romy all the very best at university. It was such a lovely phone call and fascinating to hear the story behind the photo.

  6. Before the pandemic, I think zoom calls would have been considered "cheating," but I hope now they will become part of a new normal. There will be pressure on W&K to be busier than ever and I think balancing in-person events with zooms can help bridge the need. Just before the pandemic, I started a job with a company in Colorado (I live in Texas). They recently had a very valued team member move so they had already switched to remote work. Since the pandemic, we have had all our meetings via zoom, and they have been able to hire other very talented persons who live in other states. Zooming improved the quality of the work by allowing people out of that city to participate.

  7. Anyone else a bit surprised to see a phone with a cord? It creates a more timeless and classic look for certain I just don’t know very many people who have old-fashioned phones anymore. I thought cordless phones were pretty well standard if you aren’t using a cell phone. My work had an old-fashioned phone in my office but since nobody ever called it there was no point in updating. I don’t mean this as a criticism at all I just think it’s interesting

    1. It’s an office phone, with all the hold, conference, etc buttons (easier to see on the first call) and those are still corded for the most part. As much as I wish this was her living room, it’s one of the office ‘living rooms’.

  8. Catherine has a wonderful way of making people feel comfortable and is such a natural conversationalist.

  9. nice to see this on their youtube channel and i feel for these youth

  10. everyone suffers from the global Pandemic hits everyone it's nice too see that everyone encouragement was a big thing I myself have a stigma during these hard times making a call is a great things and I love the duchess has a lot of encouraging and comforting words it's hard time she is very nice and naturaly conversationalist


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