The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken with finalists of her Hold Still community photography project, ahead of the book release on Friday.
In clips shared to Prince William and Kate's new YouTube channel, the Duchess took part in a moving phone call with Lynda Sneddon and her four-year-old daughter, Mila, whose photo was included in the project.
During the call recorded in autumn 2020, Kate made a sweet promise to the little girl that she would wear a pink dress when they were able to meet.
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The family made the difficult decision to isolate from Mila's father, Scott, and big sister, Jodi, to protect Mila, who was receiving chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The moving image that Lynda submitted showed Mila kissing the window as her dad Scott stood outside.
The Duchess spoke to four-year-old Mila
During their telephone conversation, Mila asked the Duchess: "Do you have a costume?"
Kate replied: "I'm not wearing a princess costume right now, I'm afraid Mila. Do you have lots of dressing-up outfits yourself?”
Mila replied: "Yeah" and told the Duchess her favourite colour was pink.
The duchess replied: "OK, well I have to make sure I go and try and find myself a pink dress so that hopefully, when one day hopefully, Mila we'll get to meet and then I'll remember to wear my pink dress for you. Would that be nice?"
A stunning new portrait of Kate was shared by Kensington Palace in March to coincide with the announcement of the Hold Still book.
Taken by Matt Porteous in the garden at the Cambridges' Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, it showed keen photographer Kate holding her trusty camera.
The portrait of the Duchess included in the Hold Still book
The snap accompanies a foreword from the Duchess, who writes: "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.
"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."
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The Hold Still book has been put together with support from The Co-op, which helped run the community exhibitions on billboards and outdoor poster sites in 80 towns, cities and areas last October. The final 100 images were first displayed in a digital exhibition on the National Portrait Gallery's website.
Net proceeds raised from the sale of the book will be split between leading mental health charity Mind, and the National Portrait Gallery. The funds will help to support arts and mental health projects across the UK, including Mind's work in local communities and the National Portrait Gallery's education and community projects.
Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation in 2020, £17.55, Amazon
Hold Still was launched in May 2020, when Kate invited people of all ages across the UK to submit a photo that they had taken during lockdown, aimed to capture and document the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation.
The royal mum-of-three appeared on This Morning to talk to presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield about the project with one of her patronages, the National Portrait Gallery.
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