Duchess Kate launches photography competition to help people cope during coronavirus pandemic

By Zach Harper, with files from Danielle Stacey

Duchess Kate made a surprise appearance on ITV's This Morning to launch a photography competition in connection with the National Portrait Gallery, one of her patronages.

Hold Still aims to get people across the United Kingdom to submit pictures they've taken during the coronavirus pandemic to capture the mood, hopes and fears of what the country is going through as it battles COVID-19.

"We've all been struck by some of the incredible images we've seen, which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country," the Duchess of Cambridge said. "Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.

"Hold Still aims to capture a portrait of the nation, the spirit of the nation, what everyone is going through at this time. Photographs reflecting resilience, bravery, kindness – all those things that people are experiencing."

Anyone who submits their work is encouraged to include a written submission in which they outline what they're trying to convey with their photograph. One hundred entries will be included in a digital exhibition that will be held later this year and will hopefully be shown across the United Kingdom later this year, likely once the pandemic hopefully ends. If you're in the U.K. and want to enter, you can head to npg.org.uk. Photos can be submitted from now until June 18.

Kate is an avid photographer and discussed the portraits she recently took for Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte's second and fifth birthdays. Louis's photos showed him covered in rainbow paint, and the duchess said she looked much the same after they were taken!

"I should've taken a photograph of what I looked like after as well!:" she joked on the program. "Luckily, that wasn't documented, but I was pretty much... I looked like Louis at the end of those."

Charlotte's photos showed her volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic. She, Louis, big brother Prince George and Kate and Prince William had been dropping off homemade pasta to vulnerable and elderly people near the Royal Family's Sandringham estate when they were taken.

"Again, this was part of a collection. That photograph, particularly of Charlotte, was a collection to try and tell a story and that's really what we hope people will take inspiration through this project, is really just to try and tell their part of a story from a personal level, to try and help showcase and share what they're going through."

As of this writing, there have been more than 3.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. More than 200,000 of those cases have been confirmed to be in the U.K. The illness has killed more than 264,000 people globally, while more than 1.2 million people have recovered from it worldwide.

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