Sophie Wessex snaps for Kate Middleton's photography competition

‘Packed with love!’ Sophie Wessex snaps shot of fellow volunteer working at a food bank for Kate Middleton’s Hold Still photography competition

  • Kate Middleton, 38, launched the Hold Still photography campaign last month
  • Encouraged public to share photos of what their life looks like during lockdown
  • Sophie Wessex has joined in with the contest, snapping a photo of volunteers
  • Countess took the photo while volunteering at a food bank in Surrey  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

They are fast becoming quite the royal double act, and now the Countess of Wessex, has submitted one of her own portraits for Kate Middleton’s ‘Hold Still’ photography project to capture life in lockdown.

To mark Volunteers’ Week, Sophie, 55, took a picture of Ali Abbas, 26, one of a group of volunteers at the Shah Jahan Mosque’s Covid-19 food bank in Woking, Surrey.

Ali helps to run to food bank which was set up at the start of the outbreak to deliver food parcels to NHS workers, those self-isolating and vulnerable households in the local area.

The royal, who snapped the shoot on her camera phone, named the photo ‘Packed with love’, writing of the image: ‘Ali’s smile captures the enthusiasm for helping others that is so evident amongst the volunteers at the Mosque.’

The Countess of Wessex, 55, snapped a shot of fellow volunteers working to pack bags and has submitted it for Kate Middleton’s Hold Still photography competition 

Sophie has privately joined volunteering teams like Ali’s to support efforts in local communities in recent weeks.

She said she’d was ‘pleased to share her contribution as a tribute to all of the volunteers she has met over recent weeks who are working incredibly hard to help their local communities’.

Last month, the Duchess of Cambridge, 38, joined forces with the National Portrait Gallery to launch the project, which is designed to capture the ‘spirit, mood, hopes and fears’ of the nation through the medium of photography. 

There are three themes: Helpers and Heroes – which the Countess’s portrait has been entered into ; Your New Normal; and Acts of Kindness.

To mark Volunteers’ Week, Sophie took a picture of Ali Abbas, 26, one of a group of volunteers at the Shah Jahan Mosque’s Covid-19 food bank in Woking, Surrey

The Duchess will personally curate 100 photographs for the Hold Still exhibition.

Kate – who spearheaded the campaign in her role as patron of the National Portrait Gallery and is a keen amateur photographer herself – aims to capture a snapshot of the UK at this time, with the help of the nation.

She said last month she had been ‘struck’ by the many ‘incredible’ images seen already, ‘which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people – some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic’.

It emerged last week that, over the course of the competition, the Kensington Palace Instagram account has been spotted liking and commenting on several of the photos, with the Duchess signing off with the letter ‘C’. 

Sophie has submitted the photograph into the Helpers and Heroes section of Kate’s Hold Still competition (pictured, together in 2018) 

The Duchess, who is a passionate amateur photographer, launched the Hold Still campaign last month (pictured, during a photography workshop in July 2019) 

People from across the UK are invited to submit a photographic portrait which they have taken during these extraordinary times for the community project.

Participants are also encouraged to provide a short written submission to outline the experiences and emotions of those depicted in their photograph.

Hold Still is completely free and open to all ages and abilities. 

It’s far from the first time that Sophie and Kate have teamed up, with the duo showcasing the closeness of their friendship on several occasions throughout lockdown.

It’s not the first time that the royal duo have linked up during lockdown, with the couple phoning hospitals in seven different countries last month  to mark International Nurses Day 

Earlier this week, it emerged the duo, along with the Duchess of Cornwall, had been making phone calls to people who are elderly, self-isolating or vulnerable to check in on them during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to People, the trio took part in the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, which is coordinated by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), and sees participants ‘check-in and chat’ with people.

And last month, the Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie joined together to speak to nurses in seven different commonwealth countries, including Australia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Bahamas, Cyprus and the UK.

Earlier this year, The Countess of Wessex celebrated her 55th birthday with Kate as she and Prince William hosted the UK-Africa investment summit at Buckingham Palace 

While speaking with nurses in Cyprus and hearing one of their ex-partners was a school teacher, Sophie joked she would be ‘recruited’ for Kate’s homeschooling efforts, while the Duchess added: ‘I would quite like her to come and help me with homeschooling.’

They spoke to nurses via video call, with the chats being facilitated by Nursing Now, a global campaign to improve health by raising the status and profile of nursing of which The Duchess is Patron. 

And earlier this year, The Countess of Wessex celebrated her 55th birthday with Kate as she and Prince William hosted the UK-Africa investment summit at Buckingham Palace.

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