kate middleton clapping

Kate Middleton thrills fans with personal messages during lockdown competition

The Duchess of Cambridge launched her Hold Still photo challenge last week

Diane Shipley

The Duchess of Cambridge has been commenting on Instagram entries to her virtual photo competition Hold Still, which she launched earlier this month. Kind-hearted Kate asked members of the public to share their pictures from life under lockdown. There was a huge response, with 7,500 entries being submitted in the first week alone using the hashtags #HoldStill and #HoldStill2020. Now the Duchess has been spotted leaving comments on some of the entries via the official Kensington Palace Instagram account, signing them simply "C."

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Underneath an image of a man looking out onto his garden, the down-to-earth royal wrote: "Thank you so much for taking part in the Hold Still project. I get so much joy from being outside and gardening too. C." She also commented on a photo of a healthcare worker in uniform: "Thank you so much for sharing your story and for all the amazing work you continue to do at this difficult time. C." Another user, meanwhile, shared a close-up photo of their young child blowing a dandelion, to which Kate kindly responded: "A perfect example of Hold Still… the chance to re-engage and value the simple things around us. C."

kate middleton commonwealth day

The Duchess of Cambridge is also a keen photographer 

The photographer responded: "@kensingtonroyal thank you, that is very kind. We have definitely been loving the daily walks and watching the seasons change." The six-week competition is a collaboration with one of the Duchess' patronages, the National Portrait Gallery, and aims to capture the mood and experiences of the nation as people continue to deal with COVID-19. It will culminate in a virtual gallery exhibition, with one hundred winning images on display.

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Kate announced the initiative in a surprise appearance on This Morning, where she told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: "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. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.

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"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."

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