The Queen Launches the "Hold Still" Exhibition with a Special Message

Amy Mackelden
·2 mins read
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • Queen Elizabeth has helped to launch the "Hold Still" photography exhibition, which aims to capture what life has been like during the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the United Kingdom.

  • In a heartfelt letter, the queen said she'd been "inspired" by the way the photos focused on "celebrating frontline workers, recognising community spirit or showing the efforts of individuals supporting those in need."

Earlier this year, the Duchess of Cambridge announced the "Hold Still" photography competition. Duchess Kate encouraged members of the general public to submit photos which captured the spirit of the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic, with a focus on three core themes—Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal, and Acts of Kindness.

The exhibition of photos launched on September 14, having been chosen by the judges—The Duchess of Cambridge, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan, poet and writer Lemn Sissay MBE, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May, and photographer, Maryam Wahid. Per a press release, "Hold Still" "features one hundred portraits selected by The Duchess and four other judges from 31,598 submissions," which is pretty incredible.

Ahead of the exhibition's launch, Kate Middleton shared a selection of the photos with Queen Elizabeth, to update the monarch on the astounding response to the competition. As an official press release explained, "the images present a unique record of our shared and individual experiences during this extraordinary period of history, conveying humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope."

In response to the amazing submissions, the queen penned a letter to everyone who took part. The exhibition can be viewed online at the National Portrait Gallery's website.

Read the queen's letter in full:

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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