After launching their own channel with a short trailer on Tuesday, May 5, the royals pulled back the curtain on a call the Duchess of Cambridge had with now-5-year-old Mila Sneddon and her mom Lynda Sneddon back in the fall of 2020. Mila, who was 4 years old at the time of the conversation, had been undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A week before the U.K.’s lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, she and her mother isolated in a different household from her dad Scott and her older sister Jodi as an extra precaution given Scott having to leave their bubble for work. While they were in separate homes for the time, Scott and Jodi visited Mila at their house’s window every day, a moment captured in a touching portrait Lynda took titled, “Shielding Mila.”
At the encouragement of her own mother, who saw the duchess on morning TV one day, Lynda submitted the photo to the National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still exhibition, which Kate spearheaded as patron. Featuring 100 final portraits, including the one of Mila, the exhibition was meant to capture the U.K. during its first lockdown. The pictures, chosen out of more than 31,000 submissions, will also be compiled in the book, Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation, available on May 7.