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British RoyalsCoronavirusPrince & Princess of Wales

Duchess of Cambridge hosts reception for Hold Still partners

The Duchess of Cambridge hosted a palace reception for Hold Still on Wednesday evening to thank the partners who worked with her on the pandemic photography project.

Kate was joined by representatives of the National Portrait Gallery—of which she is patron—Co-Op UK, and Book Fairies. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Instagram account shared photos from the Buckingham Palace event with the caption: “Thank you to the brilliant partners who made Hold Still a reality!

“It took a long time to bring everyone behind this incredible project together in person, but tonight we finally managed it. The idea for #HoldStill2020 came right at the start of the pandemic and aimed to bring people and communities together, using the amazing power of photography.

“It was made possible by so many partners – @nationalportraitgallery @coopuk @bookfairies_uk – to name just a few, and what’s more remarkable is how it was all orchestrated from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms!

“The most special thanks must go to the thousands of people across the country who took time to share their experiences of lockdown. Without them, the project really would not have been possible.”

Over 31,000 submissions were received for the pandemic photography project, which sought to preserve a portrait of the UK during the first lockdowns. Of these submissions, Kate and a panel of expert judges narrowed the final selection down to 100 images that were displayed on billboards and signs and in a moving exhibition across the UK last summer and fall.  

The Duchess penned the foreword for a photography book featuring the images earlier this year, writing that she wanted to “use the power of photography to create a lasting record of what we were all experiencing – to capture individuals’ stories and document significant moments for families and communities as we lived through the pandemic.”

She said: “When we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic in decades to come, we will think of the challenges we all faced – the loved ones we lost, the extended isolation from our families and friends and the strain placed on our key workers. But we will also remember the positives: the incredible acts of kindness, the helpers and heroes who emerged from all walks of life, and how together we adapted to a new normal.”

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.