The Duchess of Cambridge shared a video of the moving phone conversation she had with a participant of her Hold Still photography project, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.
Kate spoke with Hayley Evans who shared the photograph “Forever Holding Hands” of two hands held together, with hospital gowns and beds also visible. The image captured was of her own grandparents, Pat and Ron Wood, who were both admitted to hospital last year.
In the video on the Duke and Duchess' YouTube channel, the Duchess spoke with Hayley who explained how kind NHS staff had placed her grandparents beds side-by-side in the hospital, so they were able to comfort each other.
Hayley told the Duchess that Pat and Ron were glad to be together in hospital and that her grandmother would hold her grandfather’s hand and encourage him, saying, “Love you, Ron. Come on Ron."
Both Pat and Ron had COVID 19 and sadly died within five days of one another.
Hayley said that when she looks at the photograph of her grandparents holding hands now, “although obviously it’s a sad photo, it’s also so happy as well…I feel really joyful, you know?” as they were able to be together.
Ron and Pat’s story, written by Hayley, is included alongside their photograph in the Hold Still book.
Kate referred to this when she told Hayley, “I love your sentence about saying how they appreciated the tiny things and they took nothing for granted. It was that ability to touch each other and hold each other in those last few days. I think things like that shouldn’t be taken for granted.”
Hayley also revealed that the night before her grandmother went into hospital, the family were watching VE Day celebrations. She said Pat was talking about how much she loved the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge.
“For her photo to be selected, it would have meant so much to her,” said Hayley. “The fact that they’re still having an impact, their ripples, and their message…it means so much to me and my mum.”
The Duchess said that Ron and Pat would always be remembered, as would their message of “resilience and bravery", as well as that "these small acts are the things that really matter and that really keep us together.”
Photographs of Ron and Pat with their family and as a young couple throughout the years were shown during the video as Kate and Hayley spoke.
The Duchess finished by thanking Hayley for sharing her photograph and such a personal family story.
Hold Still is available to preorder now.
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