The Duchess of Cambridge finally met with a five-year-old cancer patient who featured in her Hold Still photography project after she was photographed kissing her father through a window during lockdown last year.
Kate, 39, visited brave Mila Sneddon, of Falkirk, whom she’d previously spoken to on the phone, during her and Prince William‘s final day of their week-long visit to Scotland.
The youngster underwent intensive chemotherapy for leukaemia last year meaning she was forced to shield during the height of the pandemic.
An image of her taken by her mother Lynda, entitled Shielding Mila, was one of the 100 images included in the Duchess of Cambridge’s book Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020.
The Duchess of Cambridge finally met with a five-year-old cancer patient who featured in her Hold Still project after she was photographed kissing her father through a window during lockdown last year
Mila Sneddon, of Falkirk, was photographed kissing her father through a window as she shielded while undergoing intensive chemotherapy for leukaemia during lockdown last year
Mother-of-three Kate phoned Mila and Lynda last autumn and the conversation was released earlier this month on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new YouTube channel, alongside heart-warming photographs of Mila and her family.
Mila, who was four at the time, began the call by saying: ‘Good morning, Your Royal Highness,’ prompting Kate to respond: ‘Good morning. Goodness me, you’re so polite Mila.’
Mila excitedly told Kate that she enjoys walking her dog, knows the names of all the Cambridge children and likes the colour pink – prompting Kate to promise she will wear a pink dress if they have the opportunity to meet.
The little girl was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in November 2019.
Kate Middleton, 39, phoned Mila and Lynda last autumn and the conversation was released this month on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new YouTube channel, alongside heart-warming photographs of Mila and her family
The duchess thanked Mila, and her mother Lynda who took the image, for sending in the ‘fantastic’ pictures, adding: ‘We love your photograph’. Above, a grab from the YouTube video
When the pandemic hit, parents Lynda and Scott decided to isolate separately to minimise the risk to their daughter. Lynda stayed with Mila while service engineer Scott and Mila’s sister Jodi, 16, went to Lynda’s parents.
‘We took the decision to isolate separately before lockdown because we were very conscious about what was happening, certainly in Europe, and in the UK, at that time,’ Lynda told the duchess.
‘But our lockdown did come with a bit of a silver lining because she’s still going through treatment and her immune system is compromised. Lockdown for us allowed us a period of time to focus on her treatment without interruption of illnesses and viruses in general, not just Covid-19.’
When asked why she had to spend time away from her father, Mila told Kate: ‘He had to look after me because I went for a treatment… When he came [back] into the house I was so surprised.’
When the pandemic hit, parents Lynda and Scott decided to isolate separately to minimise the risk to their daughter. Lynda stayed with Mila while service engineer Scott and Mila’s sister Jodi, 16, went to Lynda’s parents. Pictured, Scott and Mila’s tearful reunion
The photograph of Mila kissing her father through the window pane was taken on their first day of separation. It went viral after Lynda shared it online with a post about the importance of observing social distancing measures and other restrictions.
She decided to submit it to Hold Still project after the Duchess of Cambridge made an appeal for submissions on This Morning.
‘I’m very grateful,’ Kate said. ‘And also for sharing such a personal time.’
Mila asked the Duchess if she had a princess costume, prompting Kate to say: ‘I’m not wearing a princess costume right now I’m afraid Mila.’
After learning Mila’s favourite colour is pink, she added: ‘I’ll have to make sure I try and find a pink dress. Hopefully when, one day, hopefully, Mia, we’ll get to meet and then I’ll wear remember to wear my pink dress for you.’
At another point in the conversation, Mila excitedly told the Duchess: ‘I know all of your kids’ names!’ Before listing George, Charlotte and Louis.
Kate revealed: ‘Louis has gotten so big now, he’s very quick running around and he’s on his little scooter as well. He’s very quick. I can’t keep up with him.’
Mila also told Kate her favourite thing to do is walking her dog ‘Mr Cole’.
Hold Still was launched by The Duchess and the National Portrait Gallery last year and invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during the first lockdown.
From over 31,000 images submitted, 100 final portraits were selected and shown in a digital exhibition before being displayed across the UK as part of a community exhibition.
The Duchess of Cambridge previously shared a glimpse of her photography book Hold Still (pictured)
Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 brings together the final 100 Hold Still portraits, providing a unique record of our shared and individual experiences as the COVID pandemic took hold.
The book, which has been put together with support from the Co-op, will be available in UK bookshops and online from tomorrow (Friday 7th May), one year on since Hold Still was first launched.
Net proceeds raised from the sale of the book will be split between leading mental health charity Mind, and the National Portrait Gallery.
The funds will help to support arts and mental health projects across the UK, including Mind’s work in local communities and the National Portrait Gallery’s education and community projects.