SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

British RoyalsCoronavirusThe Cambridges

Duchess of Cambridge to launch photography project inspired by national mood

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge
i-Images/ Stephen Lock

The Duchess of Cambridge will launch a new photography project today that aims to capture the “spirit, mood, hopes, fears and feelings” of the United Kingdom as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Hold Still’ was spearheaded by Kate and the National Portrait Gallery, one of her patronages, to encourage people to submit their photographic portraits for consideration under one of three themes: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal, and Acts of Kindness.

“Hold Still will capture a snapshot of the people of the UK at this time, creating a collective portrait of our nation which will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, human tragedy and hope as we hold still for the good of others, and celebrate those who have continued so we can stay safe,” the National Portrait Gallery’s explains.

The Duchess will officially launch Hold Still on Thursday morning’s episode of This Morning on ITV.

“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,” Kate said in a statement released through Kensington Palace.

“Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.

“Hold Still aims to capture a portrait of the nation, the spirit of the nation, what everyone is going through at this time. Photographs reflecting resilience, bravery, kindness – all those things that people are experiencing.”

The National Portrait Gallery’s Director, Nicholas Cullinan, said: “Even if we are alone, we can all create something together. 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 face of the nation.

“The National Portrait Gallery reflects the history of Britain through the personal stories of the people who have helped to shape it. We are now inviting each and every person, across every city, town, village and home in the UK, to share their portraits with us in this unique collective endeavour.”

Submissions for Hold Still will be accepted until 18 June and must be accompanied by a statement explaining why the photograph thinks it should be considered. Photographs will be judged “on the emotion and experience it conveys rather than its photographic quality or technical expertise” and can be captured either on phones or cameras. People must be featured in the photographs.

Of the entries, 100 will feature in a virtual exhibition on the National Portrait Gallery website, and there is potential for a physical exhibition later this year.

Kensington Palace also said that Hold Still will act as an archive for the pandemic. “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.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.