Duchess of Cambridge hides free copies of her 'Hold Still' book around the UK

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

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The Duchess of Cambridge is working with The Book Fairies to distribute free copies of her Hold Still book on its release day.

Prince William and Kate shared a video on their social media pages on Friday 7 May, as the duchess's photography book was released, showing copies wrapped up in a bow and with a bookmark poking out of the top reading 'Free Book'.

They later shared a video of Kate, in a long red coat, walking near to Kensington Palace, her London home, and placing one of the free copies on the grass for someone to take.

The Book Fairies is an organisation that encourages people to pass on books when they have read them, leaving them in places for others to find and enjoy.

The idea is that the book will continue to be passed on, allowing many to enjoy it for free.

The duchess joined with the Book Fairies for the day to leave copies of her book around London. (Kensington Palace)
The duchess joined with the Book Fairies for the day to leave copies of her book around London. (Kensington Palace)

In a press release, the Book Fairies said: "150 copies are being hidden around the UK on release day 7 May by book fairies, the Hold Still judges, including The Duchess of Cambridge, and contributors whose photographs feature in the book, each copy adorned with a gold book fairy sticker, gold ribbon, and a letter from The Duchess tucked inside. 

"The Book Fairies, known for hiding books in public places for lucky finders, are excited to share this incredible book. Book fairies and helpers all around the UK are spending Friday 7 May hiding copies of Hold Still in places that gave them hope during lockdown."

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On Twitter the royals explained: "Let the search begin! We’ve joined @the_bookfairies for the day to share copies of Hold Still around the UK with you. Each copy is adorned with a gold book fairy sticker, gold ribbon, and has a letter from The Duchess tucked inside.

"To make this activity even more special, book fairies, the Hold Still judges and participants of the final 100 images are leaving copies at places that gave them hope during the lockdown."

Hold Still was a photography project launched by the duchess in May 2020, during the first national lockdown.

In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Kate encouraged people to document the world as it was in the pandemic, with photos going into three categories - helpers and heroes, your new normal and acts of kindness.

The first Book Fairy copy was placed outside Kate's London home. Some copies have been given to the photographers to leave at places special to them. (Kensington Palace)
The first Book Fairy copy was placed outside Kate's London home. Some copies have been given to the photographers to leave at places special to them. (Kensington Palace)

More than 31,000 pictures were submitted to the project and Kate, alongside a team from the gallery, chose 100 to form an exhibition which was put on billboards and bus stops around the country.

In February she announced there would be a book put together with the 100 images and the stories behind them.

Kate also wrote the foreword to the book, which has been released a year to the day since the project was announced.

The evening before it was officially released, the book was at the top of the Amazon bestseller chart.

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There were more than 31,000 images and the judges whittled it down to 100. (The National Portrait Gallery)
There were more than 31,000 images entered to Hold Still and the judges whittled it down to 100. (The National Portrait Gallery)

Book Fairy books are marked with a sticker that indicates the book can be taken, read and then shared again.

Actor Emma Watson has previously worked with The Book Fairies, hiding copies of Little Women in London, Paris and New York City, when the film adaptation was released.

According to the Book Fairies website there are more than 9,000 people sharing books in more than 100 countries.

As well as the giveaway, the Duchess of Cambridge is planning to share calls she made to some of the photographers whose images have been featured in the book over the next few weeks.

On Thursday 6 May, she shared a call which she made to five-year-old Mila Sneddon, who was the subject of a picture taken by her mum Lynda when she had to shield away from her father, Scott, who was still working out of the home.

Proceeds from the Hold Still book will go to Mind, the mental health charity, and The National Portrait Gallery.

Watch: Duchess of Cambridge launches Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation photo book

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