Kate Middleton is launching a new photography book called Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020, which captured what lockdown looked like in Britain as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on over the past year.
"When we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic in decades to come, we will think of the challenges we all faced – the loved ones we lost, the extended isolation from our families and friends and the strain placed on our key workers," Kate, 39, wrote in the book's foreword. "But we will also remember the positives: the incredible acts of kindness, the helpers and heroes who emerged from all walks of life, and how together we adapted to a new normal."
"Through Hold Still, I wanted to use the power of photography to create a lasting record of what we were all experiencing – to capture individuals' stories and document significant moments for families and communities as we lived through the pandemic," she continued about her new venture. "I hope that the final 100 images showcase the experiences and emotions borne during this extraordinary moment in history, pay tribute to the awe-inspiring efforts of all who have worked to protect those around them, and provide a space for us to pause and reflect upon this unparalleled period."
The book — which is made up of 100 portraits and show people in the U.K. who have been working and living amid the pandemic — will be released on May 7. Funds from the book will be split between mental health organization Mind Charity, which Kate and Prince William have supported over the years, and the National Portrait Gallery.
"The public response to Hold Still, which was spearheaded by our Patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, has been phenomenal. The photographs submitted have helped to create a unifying and cathartic portrait of life in lockdown. We are honoured to have been able to share a selection of these photographs with the nation, first through the online and community exhibition and now through this new publication," Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, Director of The National Portrait Gallery, said in a statement.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind added, "The coronavirus pandemic is a mental health emergency as well as a physical one. The devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown, and any recession that lies ahead means there has never been a more crucial time to prioritise our mental health. Thank you to everyone who submitted a portrait to tell such a moving and deeply human story of the pandemic."
Kate and William have participated in several video chats, thanking teachers and healthcare workers for their work during this tough time.
"We wanted to say a huge thank you to you guys and a well done. Please pass on many messages to all of the staff and volunteers. They are doing a great job," William said while chatting with teachers and kids.