Kate Middleton ‘inspired’ Queen with emotional lockdown photo project of ‘resilient’ Brits

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Kate’s Hold Still exhibition was launched back in May in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. The community project aims to create a “unique and highly personal record” of British lives during the coronavirus lockdown.

To put it together, the Duchess of Cambridge asked Britons of all ages to send in photos of their time during lockdown between May and June.

Over 31,000 people responded by submitting their own entries. Entrants varied in age from 4 to 75 years old.

In a statement, the Queen said: “It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to look through a number of the portraits that made the final 100 images for the Hold Still photography project.

“The Duchess of Cambridge and I were inspired to see how the photographs have captured the resilience of the British people at such a challenging time, whether that is through celebrating frontline workers, recognising community spirit or showing the efforts of individuals supporting those in need.”

In the end, 100 of the submissions were selected by a panel of judges to form the final exhibition.

It has just been made freely available to view on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

The museum said: “Featured here in this special digital exhibition, the final 100 present a unique and highly personal record of this extraordinary period in our history.

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“From virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient keyworkers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss.

“The images convey humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope – expressing and exploring both our shared and individual experiences.”

Participants had to focus on three core themes in their submissions – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal, and Acts of Kindness.

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Some submissions depicted humorous scenes, including one of a Royal Mail worker in a fancy dress outfit during his round.

Others were more sombre, such as one showing a young family looking outside from behind a closed front door.

The photo’s artist said: “During lockdown it was pretty much me and my son, as my partner worked days and days on end. We live in a communal flat block on the very top floor.

“I’ve felt more anxious than I ever have before. My stress levels rocketed. Home schooling was difficult, but our bond became really strong as we were in this together.”

Some depicted the immense workload suffered by NHS staff during lockdown.

One shows a nurse whose face had been reddened by the straps of full PPE equipment following a shift. It included the caption: “This is what broken looks like.”

Kate sad she had been “so overwhelmed” by the large response to the Hold Still project by the public.

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