On Sunday, Kensington Palace has shared an uplifting video of the Duchess of Cambridge thanking everybody who submitted a photo to her Hold Still photography project as the U.K.-wide exhibition comes to an end.
Kate’s project was launched in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, back in May, and received more than 31,000 entries. The Hold Still digital exhibition of the best 100 photos has had over 5.2 million page views on the National Portrait Gallery website. The final pictures have also been displayed on billboards and poster sites in 80 towns and cities across the U.K.
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an image to Hold Still.
Wearing a gorgeous red blazer and cream top, the Duchess continued: “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 has been fantastic to see these portraits on billboards and outdoor poster sites across the country as part of our community exhibition.
“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.”
Earlier this week, Kate spoke to Johannah Churchill, whose portrait of her colleague Melanie Senior was recreated as a mural in Manchester last month.
Johannah’s entry is titled “Melanie, March 2020” and shows her colleague Melanie as she worked to set up a COVID clinic in London.
The Duchess said: “Johannah, I just want to say a huge thank you to you for sending in your really amazing image of Melanie. It’s really inspiring, it’s very emotive and I think it’s really touched everybody with the reality that it shows off all those who have worked on the frontline and the difficulties that you’ve all faced.”
Dressed in a pale blue Boden cardigan, Kate added: “I think it was an important part of the story to try to show members of the public and those at home who might not be witnessing what you obviously witnessed on a day to day basis.”
Churchill also told Kate how the image has led her to receive messages from medical staff from across the U.K., Australia, Canada and the Philippines in response to the portrait.
She said: “People have actually contacted me to say thank you for taking the image. I’m actually really surprised I’ve had a lot of messages from complete strangers.
“I got a message from a woman who’s a nurse in ITU in Manchester and she said she stood in front of the mural and cried.”
The Duchess told her: “I think it’s become such an iconic portrait that represents a lot of what frontline workers have experienced and what those of you across the UK have put your lives on the line in looking after us all this year.
“I think it certainly touched us in terms of the judging panel, we felt it was a hugely moving image and I think it has really resonated with lots of the public too, so well done.
“I think it will be an image that people will remember in the future as showcasing the realities of what so many of you witnessed.”