The Duchess of Cambridge has described as “amazing” an image of an elderly couple holding hands as they battled Covid-19 and chosen for her landmark photographic project.

Kate spoke to Hayley Evans, who took the picture of her grandparents Pat and Ron Wood, who later died just days apart.

Ms Evans’ striking image, called Forever Holding Hands, was among 100 photographs chosen for the duchess’ Hold Still exhibition and book, which encouraged the public to document life during the pandemic.

In the picture only the hands of the couple, who were married for 71 years, can be seen, with Mr Evans, who died aged 94 five days after his wife, clutching the fingers of his partner, who died in May last year aged 91.

In a telephone conversation held last autumn but released on Monday, Kate told Ms Evans: “The photograph is so amazing, and that’s what I think is so lovely, is actually hearing people’s stories, and the things that have really resonated for them.”

Commenting on Ms Evans’ caption, which accompanied her picture, she added: “And I loved your sentence about saying how they appreciate the tiny things and took nothing for granted.

“And it was just the ability to touch each other and hold each other in those last few days. I think things like that shouldn’t be taken for granted, particularly, you know, in the last few days of life.”

Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020
Kate with the book of her Hold Still photographic project (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The couple’s granddaughter made the duchess laugh when she reminisced about the couple’s good-natured bickering.

Mr Wood and his wife were cared for in the same room at a hospital in their hometown of Worthing, West Sussex.

Ms Evans said: “My nan, it made her absolute life being able to be next to him.

“She could just sit there holding his hand (and say) ‘I love you Ron, love you Ron! Love you Ron! Come on Ron’, and he was like, ‘stop talking woman’.

“It was the best thing they could have done for them.”