The Duchess of Cambridge praised NHS staff who worked on the frontline amid the Covid-19 pandemic for capturing an image which made the top 100 in her lockdown photography competition as she met with them in London today.
Kate Middleton, who was launching the Hold Still photograph exhibition in Waterloo station and was joined by husband Prince William, later spent time with Joyce Duah, 33, a specialist oncology pharmacist, who took the photo of pharmacy technician colleagues Amelia Chowdhury, 34, and Dipal Samuel, 38, at St Bart’s Hospital, in London.
The image, known as ‘All In This Together,’ shows Joyce’s two colleagues, who had been called in to work on the Intensive Care Unit and can be seen donning protective face masks, using pens to draw smiley faces and love hearts on their PPE uniform.
‘Thank you so much for the image,’ Kate said, as she spoke with the subjects. ‘It had such an impact it captured the moment, it was a look behind the scenes. The story of what you experienced is so important.’
Kate Middleton and Prince William (pictured), both 38, met with Joyce Duah, 33, a specialist oncology pharmacist, who took the photo of pharmacy technician colleagues Amelia Chowdhury, 34, and Dipal Samuel, 38, at St Bart’s Hospital, in London
The royal couple praised the hospital workers for capturing the image known as ‘All In This Together,’ which shows to colleagues using pens to draw smiley faces and love hearts on their PPE aprons
The image (pictured) made it into the Duchess of Cambridge’s top 100 in her lockdown photography competition
William added: ‘It is important for history purposes to show that actually happened.’
Kate launched the Hold Still community photography project in May, and invited people of all ages, from across the UK, to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown.
The mother-of-three received more than 31,000 entries from members of the public in just six weeks and last month unveiled the top 100 images in a digital exhibition.
Portraits from the competition have now gone on show in 80 towns, cities and areas across the UK, bringing the stories of individuals and families during lockdown back to their communities.
During their visit today, the royal couple enjoyed a conversation with the NHS workers in the hospital’s Princess Alice Gardens.
‘It will go down in history,’ explained Dipal. ‘When children are doing history or biology, they can have these photographs of mum doing this.
Kate previously said she had been ‘so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well’
The royals went on to meet with Head of Pharmacy Sotiris Antoniou during their visit to the hospital in London, where they discussed the work of frontline staff during the Covid-19 crisis
‘There were times when goggles were in short supply. We didn’t have enough visors or goggles so one day I had swimming goggles. It was so hot there was sweat filling up my swimming goggles.’
William added: ‘I love the ingenuity and thinking out of the box. Your eyeballs were literally swimming in swimming goggles.’
Joyce, who captured the photo and looked after patients on the cancer ward, went on to say how she took ‘a series’ of photos of her colleagues getting in and out of their PPE.
‘I thought it was the most interesting aspect,’ she explained. ‘It shows Amelia and Dipal writing their names with a marker on each others PPE because when a patient wakes up they know our names. It was a very touching sentiment.
‘Patients were often in a coma and so coming round confused and didn’t know who was treating them. But also we couldn’t even recognise each other at times without names.’
Dipal added: ‘I put a smiley face on Amelia’s as a whimsical gesture. Amelia wrote a love heart and “pharmacy.”
‘It was also for our own camaraderie and morale so we knew who our colleagues and friends were when we saw them in the lift or corridor.’
During their visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also met with respiration physiotherapist Isobel Fale, 26, medical oncology trainee Myria Galazi, 36 and head of pharmacy Sotiris Antoniou, 46.
Speaking of her appreciation for the Clap For Carers, Isobel said: ‘They asked us if we felt valued by the public. I told them after a long hard day at work I knew every Thursday we had the whole nation behind us.’