Musician Tom Walker has opened up about practising and performing with the Duchess of Cambridge for her Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey. Tom, who sang his poignant hit For Those Who Can't Be Here while Kate accompanied him on the piano, admitted the royal was understandably "quite nervous" in the first rehearsal.
"I think the first rehearsal we did she was quite nervous because she hadn't played with another musician in a very long time," said Tom. "She's got a piano at home but the one that we'd rented in for the day was going to be the same one we were using for the actual service.
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"It was completely different to hers, so she was trying to get the feel for that."
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The Scottish singer-songwriter gave a personal insight into what the Duchess is really like, saying: "She's just lovely, really chilled out, very nice, seems really approachable and just really lovely. I was very nervous for the first five to ten minutes but I was all good after that."
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The pair went through the song around nine times before recording the final performance, but Kate, 39, appeared to do even more practise at home in between their sessions.
"When she turned up for the actual performance, you could really tell she'd gone to town practising because I was shocked at how much better she was," said Tom. "She really invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right and making sure that it was good, so I was really impressed – great musician."
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Tom went on to sing the Duchess' praises, adding: "I think we were both really nervous that it wasn't going to go quite to plan and one of us would let down the other person or whatever, but she was absolutely fabulous – she smashed it.
"What a talented, kind, warm-hearted, lovely person. She's very chilled, very nice and she was so kind to everybody who was there – personally introduced herself to the whole band. It was just lovely. A big moment for me in my career."
The song was broadcast on ITV as part of Royal Carols: Together at Christmas, which was masterminded by Kate. The Duchess came up with the idea of performing the song together after meeting Tom at a Forward Trust event, also attended by Ant and Dec, in October. She was impressed by his song Leave a Light On, about the struggles of people with addiction.
Kate decorates the tree at Westminster Abbey
As Kate revealed in her introduction to the carol service: "Music was so important to me during the pandemic as I think it was to so many people too."
A royal source added: "Music was very important to her during the lockdowns and playing the piano brought great comfort to her. She played a lot during lockdown.
"She also recognises the powerful way in which music brings people together – especially during difficult times. For these reasons, she was keen to be part of Tom's performance in this way."
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