A new portrait of Duchess Kate has been released to mark her incredible achievement: The publication of a book featuring the 100 final portraits from her Hold Still photography challenge.
The image appears with a moving foreword the Duchess of Cambridge wrote for Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020. The book will be available at stores in the U.K. as of May 7, and it will also be available online. You can pre-order it for £24.95 ($43.31) right now. It goes toward a good cause, with proceeds being shared between British mental health organization Mind, and the National Portrait Gallery.
"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 wrote in the 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. 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."
Kate's new portrait appropriately shows her engaging in photography, one of her passions, at the Cambridge family's home of Anmer Hall in Norfolk. The photo, taken by Matt Porteous, shows the 39-year-old holding a camera while smiling at something or someone outside of the shot. She sports a red sweater with a ruffled blouse underneath.
Hold Still launched May 7, 2020, and involved the duchess challenging people to submit their photographs as part of the project, which she said was intended to create a record of how the United Kingdom was dealing with and coping with the new reality of COVID-19. Some of the 100 final images were included on billboards across the U.K. late last year and all of them formed a special National Portrait Gallery exhibition online.
"For me, the power of the images is in the poignant and personal stories that sit behind them," Kate wrote in the book's foreword. "I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to some of the photographers and sitters, to hear their stories first-hand – from moments of joy, love and community spirit, to deep sadness, pain, isolation and loss.
"A common theme of these conversations was how lockdown reminded us about the importance of human connection and the huge value we place on the relationships we have with the people around us.
"Although we were physically apart, these image remind us that, as families, communities and a nation we need each other more than we had ever realized."
Kate has long been a keen shutterbug, whose university thesis was about photography when she studied at St Andrews. She's also taken most of her children's birthday portraits over the last few years, and has a knack for capturing Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in sweet, candid moments that show off their personalities.
We pre-ordered a copy and can't wait for it to arrive!