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The Duchess of Cambridge has thanked frontline NHS staff for entering her photography competition.

Duchess Catherine and her husband, Prince William, launched her ‘Hold Still’ exhibition in London on Tuesday (20.10.20) and she had the chance to meet with oncology pharmacist Joyce Duah, whose submission, ‘All in This Together’, showed her pharmacy technician colleagues Amelia Chowdhury and Dipal Samuel set for work on the Intensive Care Unit as they donned protective face masks and used pens to draw smiley faces and love hearts on their PPE equipment.

Catherine told them: “Thank you so much for the image. 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.”

William added: “It is important for history purposes to show that actually happened.”

Dipal is thankful the picture will always be a part of history.

Joining the royals and her colleagues in the Princess Alice Gardens at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital, she said: “‘It will go down in history. ‘When children are doing history or biology, they can have these photographs of mum doing this.

“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 praised the staff for their “ingenuity”.

He said: “I love the ingenuity and thinking out of the box. Your eyeballs were literally swimming in swimming goggles.”

Joyce explained the image was just one in a “series” of photos she’d taken of her colleagues getting in and out of their PPE.

She said: “I thought it was the most interesting aspect. It shows Amelia and Dipal writing their names with a marker on each other’s 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.”

The couple also met community food hub volunteer Sami Massalami Mohammed Elmassalami Ayad, who didn’t even know photographer Grey Hutton had submitted his portrait.

William laughed and said: “Oh, that’s great! You didn’t know at all? Love it. That’s brilliant.”

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