Duchess Kate makes touching promise to little girl ahead of 'Hold Still' book launch

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Zach Harper

Duchess Kate's Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 book will be released May 7. In the lead-up, Kate spoke with some of the finalists who submitted photographs of their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the heartwarming calls was shared on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's newly launched YouTube channel on May 6.

The mom of three spoke with Lynda Sneddon and her four-year-old daughter, Mila, in fall of 2020. The recorded phone call can be heard in the new video entitled "Shielding Mila."

During the moving conversation, Kate found out more about the family's experiences with COVID-19 and how they decided to isolate away from Mila's sister Jodi and dad Scott because Mila was receiving chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The photo Lynda submitted for the Hold Still project depicts Mila kissing the glass of a window as her dad stands outside and smiles at his little girl.

"After trying to find an alternative solution we took the difficult decision to isolate in different households to protect Mila, who at this point was only 4 months into her chemotherapy journey for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia," Lynda explained in her portrait submission.

"As Mila’s dad, Scott, had to continue to work and her big sister Jodi still attend school, we could not risk the possibility of infection being brought home, so they would visit every day at the window."

"Good morning, Your Royal Highness," Mila said on the call.

"Good morning. My goodness me, you are so polite, Mila," responded Kate.

The duchess asked the little girl about being away from her daddy while she underwent her chemotherapy treatment. The four-year-old talked about her "surprise when daddy came into the house" after their separation.

At one point during the telephone conversation, Mila asked the Duchess of Cambridge, "Do you have a costume?"

One of Kate's beautiful pink looks we bet Mila would love. The duchess wore this dreamy Gucci gown to a gala dinner in aid of Mentally Healthy Schools at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Feb. 13, 2019 in London. Photo: © by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

"I'm not wearing a princess costume right now, I'm afraid Mila," responded Kate. "Do you have lots of dressing-up outfits yourself?”

Mila said she did and revealed that her favourite colour was pink.

"Pink, okay, 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?"

Kate also talked to Linda about their decision to isolate separately before the first lockdown in the U.K. and the many unknown factors about the pandemic. Linda revealed it was her mom who encouraged her to submit the moving photo to Hold Still after seeing Duchess Kate introduce the project on television.

At the end of the call, Mila sweetly revealed she knows all of Kate's kids' names. She then correctly listed Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis. Kate told Mila that Louis has "got so big now" and he was riding his scooter. The proud mom said he's "very quick" running around and on his scooter, and she can't keep up with him. Mila also enjoys riding her scooter.

We can expect more of the heartwarming calls to be shared in the coming weeks. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge teased more of them on May 6 on Instagram.

"Introducing a series of telephone calls that The Duchess held with participants from the Hold Still photography project, that will be released on our YouTube channel over the coming weeks," read the message.

The 39-year-old chatted with a selection of the 100 finalists last autumn to hear more about the stories that made it into the Hold Still book. Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 will be available at stores in the U.K. as of May 7, and it will also be available online.

You can pre-order it for £24.95 ($43.31) right now. It goes toward a good cause, with proceeds being shared between British mental health organization Mind, and the National Portrait Gallery. The duchess penned the forward for the book and a beautiful portrait of her is seen next to it.

Hold Still was a very powerful project Kate launched with her patronage, the National Portrait Gallery, in May 2020. She encouraged people in the United Kingdom to submit their personal photographs that captured their new pandemic realities. Some of the 100 final images were included on billboards across the U.K. late last year and all of them formed a special National Portrait Gallery exhibition online.

MORE: Duchess Kate looks beautiful in blue as she interviews midwife about supporting vulnerable women and girls in Uganda

It has been a full week for the Duchess of Cambridge. On May 5, details were revealed about her interview with Nursing Times. The mom of three is patron of the Nursing Now campaign, and she got to be the interviewer for the virtual appearance.

Kate spoke with nurse midwife Harriet Nayiga to find out more about MILCOT (Midwife-led Community Transformation) and its impact on women and girls in Uganda.

She and Prince William also launched their YouTube channel on May 5, and uploaded a cute introduction video welcoming everyone to the channel.

We can't wait to read Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020!

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