Hello and happy weekend to everyone. We’re back with a quick post following up on the Duchess’s project, ‘Hold Still, a portrait of our nation in 2020.’
The endeavor was done in tandem with the National Portrait Gallery, one of Kate’s patronages. People across the UK were asked to submit photos that captured “the spirit, hopes, fears & feelings of the UK as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.”
It turns out more than 31,500 images were submitted, a rousing success, I would say. Now a panel of judges has selected the final 100 photos that will be part of a special online exhibition. Below, the Duchess and the other four judges.
Above you see (clockwise from top left): Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery; the Duchess of Cambridge; Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England; Lemn Sissay MBE, writer and poet; and Maryam Wahid, photographer.
You may remember the ITV interview Kate did back in May to launch the project.
The Duchess appeared on the network’s This Morning show to kick off the endeavor.
The Duchess left comments on some of the pictures submitted to the venture. Here you see one at the bottom of this post on Instagram by EsmeandFlo.
The panel “assessed the images on the emotions and experiences they convey rather than on their photographic quality or technical expertise, ” and the 100 selected for the exhibition “reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, and human tragedy and hope.”
The online exhibition will launch Monday, September 14, and later in the year, some of the photographs will be shown in towns and cities across the UK. Kate was clearly delighted by the response to the project. Below, a quote from the Duchess shared in a Kensington Palace news release.
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.
Photos were submitted in three categories: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal, and Acts of Kindness. The Canberra Times shares some of the judges’ reactions to their experience looking at the photos:
“I loved going through this, partly because it gives me a bit of a break from Covid-19 work that we’ve been doing in the NHS, where our NHS and our frontline staff have done an amazing job,” Ms May said.
She added: “I found it hard as well as hysterically funny at times. When I was going through them I had a good old giggle as well.”
Kate agreed, saying: “It’s true, it’s like a huge roller coaster, isn’t it, of emotions?
“I suppose that’s what everyone has experienced, a reflection of what everyone’s been through at this time.”
She said the images showed “how different and diverse everyone’s experience of Covid-19 has been”, adding: “No one story is the same, everyone’s is unique.
“It’s been great, it’s going to be so difficult to edit this down.”
The Duchess picked three of the finalists to be shared ahead of the exhibit. The Mirror reports this first picture was “submitted by Hassan Akkad, who signed up to work as a cleaner in a Covid-19 ward at his local hospital in north London. Capturing his colleague and ward host Gimba, he wrote: “Within days, Gimba, our ward host, called me ‘my son’.”
More about the image from the Daily Mirror article:
“On the day the photograph was taken, Gimba had received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill and had been rushed to hospital.
“Gimba cried all day and was heartbroken that she couldn’t fly home to see her mother and look after her because of travel restrictions during the pandemic.
“She declined to take any time off, saying: ‘I have to feed my patients’.
Another of the finalists is called ‘Prayers for our community’ and shows Reverend Tim Hayward with pictures of parishioners in the pews at his church in Bunbury, Cheshire. The Reverend hoped the pictures would assure the community that they and their loved ones were very much being remembered in thoughts and prayers.
The third photo the Duchess selected is called ‘We’re really lucky to have a garden’ and was submitted by Robert Coyle, showing his wife and their son.
More of Mr. Coyle’s explanation of the photo comes via The Mirror piece.
“One Friday, as I finished emailing at the kitchen table, my wife had taken a chair and a drink outside to enjoy the evening sun.
“We were doing our best, like the rest of the country, with work, childcare and news of daily death tolls.
“Our son had taken to relieving himself on the plants, much to our initial amusement and then slight frustration.”
I know many a parent who can relate to Mr. Coyle’s submission!
In terms of what Kate wore for the conversation with her fellow judges, I have very little to offer. My first thought upon seeing the olive green print was that it was reminiscent of the Altuzarra dress worn for a school visit in September 2016.
But I was wrong. The dress is from Zara’s Join Life collection, made “using technology and raw materials that help us to reduce the environmental impact of our products.”
The Printed Dress (originally €39.95, most recently selling for €12.99, about $15 at today’s exchange rates) is 100% viscose (at least 50% is from a sustainable source) in a midi-length with lace embellishment at the vee-neck, an elastic waistband, and gathered, ruched sleeves.
The dress appears to be sold out at all of the online Zara sites I checked. Many thanks to Middleton Maven for the ID, along with Anna on Instagram who helped locate the precise style. Anna knows the dress well, she owns it! (You can see her post here.)
Without a better photo, I am uncomfortable saying what pair of earrings the Duchess is wearing.
UPDATES AUG 30: Today Kensington Palace released a brief video of the Duchess chatting with the judges.
Introducing the #HoldStill2020 judging panel:
• The Duchess of Cambridge
• Director of @NPGLondon, Nicholas Cullinan
• Writer and poet, Lemn Sissay MBE
• Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May
• 2018 Portrait of Britain Winner, Maryam Wahid pic.twitter.com/OXBz2i6b89
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 30, 2020
Looking at the video we can see which earrings the Duchess was wearing.
In talking about the dress ID above, I mentioned Anna on Instagram; here is a photo of Anna in the dress.
Alicia says this is one of her favorite lockdown frocks.
Another royally connected friend who owns the dress – writer Kristin Contino of Royal Central. You see her wearing it in this photo with her new novel. +++++++++++++++++++++++++
In other news, The Sun reports the Cambridge family is at Balmoral with HM and Prince Philip.
The Queen held a socially distanced family reunion with William, Kate and their three children on Saturday, the Sun on Sunday can reveal.
It was the first time she had seen all of them together since before lockdown began in March.
Sources said that Her Majesty spent some time with great-grandchildren George, seven, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two, outside on the 50,000-acre estate.
We will see you next week!