Why The ‘Hold Still 2020’ was an Emotioanlly Powerful Project


Kensington Palace released a new short clip featuring another conversation between The Duchess of Cambridge and Hayley - one of the finalists who sent a portrait of her Grandparents holding hands at the hospital bed Holding Hands Forever
Kensington Palace

Today, Kensington Palace released a new short clip featuring another conversation between The Duchess of Cambridge and Hayley – one of the finalists who sent a portrait of her Grandparents holding hands at the hospital bed ‘Holding Hands Forever’ to Hold Still 2020. The conversation shows why the artistic and ambitious idea spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge was the most emotionally powerful project of the year 2020.

Pat and Ron Wood, who were married for 71 years, were admitted to the COVID ward just a week apart in May 2020.  Ron picked up the COVID virus sometime during the treatment of his hip. A few days later, Ron’s Wife Pat and daughter were tested positive. At first, both Pat and Ron were nursed separately but were soon reunited. The hospital staff pushed their beds together and gave them their own room. The couple spent their last days together. Pat Passed away in her sleep and Ron followed her 5 days later.

Hold Still 2020 - Holding Hands Forever
Hayley Evans/NPG London

Their granddaughter Hayley shred the picture taken during the hospitalisation with the nation through The Duchess of Cambridge’s artistic project ‘Hold Still 2020’ that was launched in May 2020. Since its launch, the project has become a huge success. It received more than 31k entries. The project was turned into a book that featured the final 100 portraits selected by the panel. And the book became the Sunday Times bestseller with its proceeds going to National Portrait Gallery and Mind Charity.

The Duchess of Cambridge's artistic project Hold Still 2020 has become the huge success since its launch
National Portrait Gallery

The project was not just a lockdown engagement – it captured our life through one of the worst crisis of our society. Many generations later when someone will study what life was like during the COVID-19 lockdown, What people have suffered and lost, how we coped with the difficult and challenging time, The ‘Hold Still 2020’ will tell our story. Although the project had entries from the UK only, it simply showcases the life around the whole world during the pandemic.

The Duchess of Cambridge launched a community project Hold Still
Kensington Palace

The stories behind the portraits are what millions around the globe have gone through i.e. losing their loved ones without having a chance to say goodbye, isolating away from friends and families, loss of jobs, lack of human contact, postponement of weddings and ceremonies. COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our lives from family to job, study to shopping, children to elders no one was spared. And Hold Still is telling every single one of those moments.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge mark the launch of Hold Still 2020 community exhibition
Kensington Palace

If you haven’t checked yet here is the complete journey of the Hold Still project. See all the final 100 portraits of the artistic project here. The book is still available to order online at the NPG store.


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