Earlier this year, Kate Middleton launched a photography project, inviting people around the UK to put forward images they had taken during lockdown.
From the 31,000 submissions made since May to ‘Hold Still’, which is in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, the Duchess of Cambridge has selected the final 100 images to be featured in a digital exhibition next month.
The royal mother-of-three admitted she had been delighted by the “unique” responses to the concept, which aims to reflect what life was like for a range of British people during the height of the pandemic.
She made the comment in a recent video call with her fellow judges, where she could be seen donning a v-neck khaki green print Zara dress – currently still available for £49.99.
The duchess, 38, spoke to England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May, director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan, writer and poet Lemn Sissay and photographer Maryam Wahid.
She said: “I just want to reflect on, I suppose how we first came to think of the idea and why we chose to do this photography project.
"I think we all really felt, and I particularly felt, really strongly that I wanted to try and create a portrait of the nation that sort of captures the fears and the hopes and the feelings of the nation at this really extraordinary time, as a record I suppose for years to come.
"The quality of the images has been extraordinary really and the poignancy and the stories behind the images I think have been equally moving as well."
"The thing that I suppose has struck me going through all these images is just how different and diverse everyone’s experience of COVID-19 has been. No one story is the same, everyone’s is unique."
Captioning a post on Instagram, the duchess added: "I’ve been so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well.
"So I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has entered and taken part. And a big thank you to my fellow judges.
“I hugely appreciate the time and dedication that they have shown towards the project."
The chosen portraits – three of which were shared in another Instagram post – will be featured in a digital exhibition that goes live on 14 September.
Praising the initiative, one social media user wrote: “Love love love Kate.”
Another person commented: “Well done everybody involved, can't wait to see the exhibition.”
A third shared: “A shining light across the pond. Thank you for all that you’re doing to bring positivity to this world.”