Kate Middleton got personal with a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic for a new book released this month. The Duchess of Cambridge has been speaking to many of the finalists for Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 — a photography book published on May 7, 2021. After organizing the Hold Still campaign, she and Prince William shared one of her emotional phone calls on YouTube on Monday.
Middleton spoke with finalist Hayley Evans, who submitted a photo of her grandparents holding hands with each other in the coronavirus ward of a hospital. She revealed that they were both admitted to the Worthing Hospital in West Sussex, England in May of 2020. She titled the photo "Forever Holding Hands," and explained: "At first they were nursed separately, but were soon reunited. Kind staff pushed their beds together and gave them their own room."
Evans' grandparents were married for 71 years, but tragically COVID-19 claimed both of their lives. Her grandmother died in her sleep at the age of 92, and her grandfather followed five days later at the age of 95. She said: "They spent their final days exactly where they were meant to be and exactly how they had spent the last 71 years... together."
Middleton was moved by the photo and the tragic circumstances in which Evans captured it. She said: "I wanted to say a huge thank you to you for sending in the wonderful, very moving photograph of your grandparents. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm hugely grateful for you sending in such a personal photograph. Were you able to spend quite a bit of time with them?"
"They were in a room by themselves, after a few days of being in hospital and my nan got the positive result, they were able to put them in the same room," Evans answered. Middleton said: "Oh, that must have meant the world to them," and Evans continued: "My Nan, it made her absolute life being able to be next to him."
"The photograph is so moving, and that's what I think is so lovely, is actually hearing people's stories, and the things that have really resonated for them," Middleton said. "And I loved your sentence about saying how they appreciate the tiny things, and they took nothing for granted, and it was just the ability to touch each other and hold each other in those last few days."