Last year, Kate Middleton teamed up with the National Portrait Gallery to launch a special photography project, Hold Still. The Duchess of Cambridge, who is royal patron of the National Portrait Gallery, asked people from all around the U.K. to submit a photographic portrait depicting their lives amid the coronavirus pandemic; the goal was to capture the “portrait of the nation” during the COVID-19 crisis.
Duchess Kate and a panel of judges received over 31,000 submissions, and selected 100 images that were put on display for a digital exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Now, the project is being turned into a special coffee table book, titled Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020.
The book will feature the aforementioned 100 chosen images from the Hold Still exhibition; each photograph is accompanied by the story behind the picture, as well as additional images depicting the outdoor exhibition of Hold Still. Back in October, Prince William and Kate visited one of the exhibit sites at Waterloo Station in London to mark the launch of the project.
Kate gave a sneak peek at the hardcover book via the Cambridges’ social media accounts, in which she also showed off her influencer-worthy unboxing skills. The Duchess of Cambridge is an avid photographer herself, and while her personal photo skills won’t be displayed in the 168-page book, she did write the foreword.
“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 writes in the introduction to the book. “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.”
Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 costs £24.95 (just over $34) and will be available to purchase online and in U.K. bookstores starting May 7, which is exactly a year from when Duchess Kate first launched the photo project. The net proceeds will be split between the National Portrait Gallery and the mental health charity Mind. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the charitable tome, you can preorder the book now at the National Portrait Gallery’s online shop. It’s the perfect addition to your coffee table vignette.