As the UK enters another week in a second nationwide lockdown, the Duchess of Cambridge has recorded a special message to those who submitted to her digital exhibition bringing stories of individuals and families affected by the restrictions.
To mark the end of the Hold Still exhibition, Kate recorded a video message thanking everybody who submitted a portrait to the project, which has had over 5.2 million page views on the National Portrait Gallery website.
"I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an image to Hold Still," she says in the clip, smiling. "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."
Dressed in a crimson red blazer and cream top, the duchess continued: “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."
She added: "I couldn’t be more grateful to each and every one of the 31,000 people who submitted an image. It was so hard to select the final 100 photographs but we hope we have created a collective portrait of our nation, reflecting on what others have experienced as well as our own journeys through this difficult time."
Earlier this week, Kate also spoke to Spoke to NHS nurse Johannah Churchill, whose portrait “Melanie, March 2020” was recreated as a large mural in the city of Manchester as part of the nationwide exhibition, which was displayed on billboards and outdoor poster sites in 80 towns and cities across the U.K. for four weeks.
Johannah's submission featured her colleague working to set up a COVID-19 clinic in London. During the video call, she and the duchess discussed the impact the photo has had and the important role it played in representing the experiences of frontline workers across the country.
"It has been fantastic to see these portraits on billboards and outdoor poster sites across the country as part of our community exhibition, and I’m hugely grateful to all our partners for helping us take the images back to the people and communities who took them," Kate adds in her video message.
The duchess launched Hold Still in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery in May, inviting people from across the country submit photos they had taken during lockdown. She was joined by a panel to select 100 portraits to form the virtual exhibition.
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