Kate Middleton is a vision in baby blue as she thanks contributors to her Hold Still photo contest

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Hair salons are closed during England’s second lockdown, but it certainly hasn’t impacted the Duchess of Cambridge‘s enviable mane, with the royal sporting an impressively bouncy hairdo in two video messages to participants in her Hold Still photography contest. 

Wearing a smart red jacket and white blouse, the Duchess showed off a lighter ‘bronde’ hairstyle, a midway point between blonde and brown, for a video message to mark the end of her UK-wide Hold Still community exhibition with a message thanking everybody who submitted a portrait to the project.  

Kate, 38, said: ‘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.’ 

Earlier this week, the mother-of-three also spoke to Johannah Churchill, whose portrait ‘Melanie, March 2020’ was recreated as a mural in Manchester as part of the community exhibition of 100 photos, which has been viewed 5.2 million times online, as well as being displayed in 80 locations across the UK. 

Looking radiant in a baby blue cardigan, the royal spoke from one of the sitting rooms in Apartment 1A, the four-storey Kensington Palace home she shares with husband William, 38, and their children George, seven, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two.

Wearing a smart red jacket and white blouse, the Duchess showed off a lighter 'bronde' hairstyle, a midway point between blonde and brown, as she spoke in front of images by amateur photographers

Wearing a smart red jacket and white blouse, the Duchess showed off a lighter ‘bronde’ hairstyle, a midway point between blonde and brown, as she spoke in front of images by amateur photographers

Wearing a baby blue cardigan, Kate also took part in a video call from from one of the sitting rooms in Apartment 1A, the four-storey Kensington Palace home she shares with husband William, 39, and their children George, seven, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two. She could be seen surrounded by family photos, perched on a grey sofa with red cushions

Wearing a baby blue cardigan, Kate also took part in a video call from from one of the sitting rooms in Apartment 1A, the four-storey Kensington Palace home she shares with husband William, 39, and their children George, seven, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two. She could be seen surrounded by family photos, perched on a grey sofa with red cushions 

On the cabinet behind the Duchess framed family photographs of her three children – taken by her – can be seen. 

One shows George and Charlotte smiling in their uniforms on the princess’ first day of school in September last year. The other shows Kate cuddling Louis on a family to the Duchess of Cambridge’s Back To Nature Garden at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show last summer.

Also visible behind Kate is an ornate urn bursting with delicate white blooms and two landscape paintings.

The Duchess perched on a pale grey sofa with red and floral cushions adding a splash of colour to the neutral decor scheme.  

It is the second time this week the Duchess has conducted a video call from the relaxed living space and marks a change from the more formal setting of previous virtual engagements.

Kate chatted with Johannah Churchill, whose portrait 'Melanie, March 2020' was recreated as a mural in Manchester, and her colleague Dr Edward Cole

Kate chatted with Johannah Churchill, whose portrait ‘Melanie, March 2020’ was recreated as a mural in Manchester, and her colleague Dr Edward Cole

Artist Peter Barber works on a mural in Manchester city centre, depicting nurse Melanie Senior, after The National Portrait Gallery commissioned the mural based on a photograph by Johannah Churchill, submitted to Kate's Hold Still photography contest

Artist Peter Barber works on a mural in Manchester city centre, depicting nurse Melanie Senior, after The National Portrait Gallery commissioned the mural based on a photograph by Johannah Churchill, submitted to Kate’s Hold Still photography contest

She began the video message, saying: ‘I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an image to Hold Still. 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.

‘We have been thrilled by the response to the project and 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.

‘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.

The Duchess of Cambridge launched the Hold Still community exhibition at Waterloo Station with Prince William in London last month

The Duchess of Cambridge launched the Hold Still community exhibition at Waterloo Station with Prince William in London last month  

Amelia May, posing beside her own image, in which she's dressed in a nurse's uniform, entitled 'Thank You', in Merseyside

Another of the images chosen by the Duchess for her community photography project was a photograph of a young boy staring  out at empty supermarket shelves (pictured)

Amelia May, posing beside her own image, in which she’s dressed in a nurse’s uniform, entitled ‘Thank You’, in Merseyside (left). Another of the images chosen by the Duchess for her community photography project was a photograph of a young boy staring out at empty supermarket shelves (pictured)

Another shows a child kissing their godmother through a window during the global pandemic and the UK's lockdown (pictured)

Another shows a child kissing their godmother through a window during the global pandemic and the UK’s lockdown (pictured)

Thank you so much for being part of Hold Still and for sharing your stories with the nation.’

One of the portraits – Melanie, March 2020, taken by Johannah Churchill – has been recreated as a hand-painted mural in Manchester city centre. 

The image shows Johannah’s colleague working to set up a Covid-19 clinic in London, and earlier this week the Duchess spoke to Johannah and Dr Edward Cole who was also involved in establishing the facility.   

During the call, they discussed the important role the photograph has played in helping to represent the experiences of frontline workers across the nation as they continue to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Johannah also told The Duchess how she’s received messages from medical staff from across the UK, and around the world, saying her photo has enabled them to share their own experiences of working during these extraordinary times. 

The Hold Still initiative, launched in May in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, aimed to capture and document ‘the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation’ as the UK dealt with the coronavirus outbreak.

Kate previously said she had 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’.

The judging panel, comprising of Kate, Nicholas Cullinan, director of the gallery; poet Lemn Sissay; Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England; and photographer Maryam Wahid, assessed the images on the emotions and experiences they convey, rather than on their photographic quality or technical expertise to select 100 finalists from 31,000 entries. 

A digital exhibition was launched in September with a message of congratulations from the Queen to all those who submitted photos. 

She 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.

‘The Duchess of Cambridge and I send our best wishes and congratulations to all those who submitted a portrait to the project.’

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