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British RoyalsCoronavirusThe Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge views outdoor exhibit of Hold Still portraits in London

The Duchess of Cambridge has stepped out to view an outdoor exhibit of images from the Hold Still portraits that captured everyday moments of life during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

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Joined by her husband, Kate travelled to Waterloo in south London to view a selection of portraits and to meet with the subject of one photograph, Sami Massalami Mohammed Elmassalami Ayed, a volunteer with the Hackney Food Hub.

Sami’s self-titled portrait was snapped by Grey Hutton while he was in the midst of a food delivery. In the caption, Hutton wrote, “[Sami] saw what was happening below, and came down to lend a hand. I was immediately drawn to his beaming smile and positive vibe. I love the way his apron flutters in the wind, cape-like, as if revealing for a moment the superhero within. It’s everyday acts of kindness and solidarity like Sami’s that have brought communities together through this crisis.”

Sami revealed today to reporters that he’d previously chatted with Kate when she called to let him know that his portrait had been selected for inclusion in Hold Still. “We had such a lovely conversation,” he said.

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“She told me how she wanted to build a snapshot of how Britain was coping in the pandemic, but to show all sides of what people have gone through and are still going through. The Duchess came across as really caring and dedicated, I was so impressed she took the time to call me. I told her about the work they do at the food hub, and she agreed it’s such a vital project. I was lucky enough to help out there for a couple of months, but they always need help throughout the year.”

Following their visit to Waterloo, William and Kate travelled to St Bartholomew’s Hospital to meet with Joyce Duah, a specialist oncology pharmacist who snapped ‘All in This Together,’ a photo of her colleagues Amelia and Dipal putting on their personal protective equipment and writing their names so that patients know who they are.

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In the caption for her photograph, Duah wrote, “I’ve watched Amelia and Dipal with such admiration for what they are doing and more importantly their positive attitudes. They spend their precious lunch breaks encouraging each other with humour and I think they are so brave. I decided I wanted to use my photography skills to document some of their journey. I asked Amelia if she would mind if I took some pictures of them donning their PPE and she happily accepted. I’m so proud of the team and all they do and it’s been a privilege to capture their journey during this historic time. One of their practices is to write their names on their gowns so that colleagues are able to recognise each other under their PPE and to help the patients who are conscious to feel closer to their carers.”

Kensington Palace wrote on their social media accounts, “Having seen the incredible response from people around the UK to the digital exhibition, where the final 100 images are on display, we have taken Hold Still to the streets of London and around the nation.”

The outdoor portraits will be displayed in 112 settings in 80 towns, boroughs and cities around the UK, according to the Palace, with the project supported by the National Portrait Gallery and Co-Op UK.

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.