Home » Kate Middleton Opens Two New Galleries At The Imperial War Museum In London

Kate Middleton Opens Two New Galleries At The Imperial War Museum In London

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The Duchess of Cambridge had an emotional reunion with two survivors who endured the horrors of the Holocaust during a royal visit to the Imperial War Museum today.

Kate Middleton, 38, appeared in good spirits as she visited the museum in the capital to open the spaces, named The Second World War Galleries and The Holocaust Galleries.

The mother-of-three also visited the exhibition Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors, which includes the two portraits she took last year to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust, and reunited with survivors Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein.

Kate photographed Steven and Yvonne, who both settled in Britain after the Second World War, as part of a 2020 project marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

As she walked into the room to greet Steven, she could be seen extending her arms and asking for ‘a big cuddle’, before the Holocaust survivor extended out his arms to offer her a hug, saying: ‘Are we allowed to do that now?’

Steven, 84, was among only a handful of children to make it out alive from the last of the many concentration camps he was sent to. By then his father had been gassed to death for speaking out against the Nazis.

Meanwhile Yvonne, 82, was hidden as a child in France throughout most of the Second World War and her uncle was seized and murdered for shielding her.

The Duchess of Cambridge has been reunited with Stephen Frank BEM, whom she photographed for a Generations: Portraits of the Holocaust exhibition on a visit to the @I_W_M this evening pic.twitter.com/qlMk55z3xT

— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) November 10, 2021

The Duchess had an emotional reunion with Steven Frank and his two granddaughters Maggie, 15, and Trixie 13, who she photographed holding a pan his mother used when he was a boy

Meanwhile Kate also met with Yvonne, 82, whom she photographed alongside her 11-year-old granddaughter Chloe, also survived the Nazi Holocaust

The Duchess could be seen offering Steven a huge hug as they reunited for the first time to view the portrait in the museum earlier today (pictured)

‘Their stories will stay with me’: Kate Middleton reunited with Holocaust survivors whom she photographed to mark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

Steven Frank, 84, with his two granddaughters Maggie, 15, and Trixie 13, was photographed holding a pan his mother used as a boy

To mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Mr Frank and Mrs Bernstein, who both settled in Britain after the war, were photographed by the Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace in moving family portraits for a new exhibition.

In one of the pictures Mr Frank is seen holding a pan, this had been one of his mother’s items that he had kept from during his time at Westerbork transit camp. He was later sent to Theresienstadt with his brothers and mother.

Whilst at the camp his mother would do laundry for prisoners in exchange for a small amount of bread. She would put crumbs into the pan, adding hot water to make a paste. She would give each child a spoonful to keep them alive, denying herself of the food.

It was this act of kindness from his mother and her use of the pan that ultimately saved his life. He survived multiple concentration camps and Mr Frank and his and his brothers are three of only 93 children who survived the camp, out of 15,000 children sent there.

At the time, Kate, who is patron of the Royal Photographic Society and had produced a thesis on photography during her art history degree, said ‘despite unbelievable trauma at the start of their lives’ they were ‘two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet’.

She added: ‘They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through.

‘Their stories will stay with me forever.’

Memories: Yvonne Bernstein, 82, pictured alongside her 11-year-old granddaughter Chloe, also survived the Nazi Holocaust

She said that whilst she had been lucky enough to meet the survivors, she recognised that not everyone in the future would be able to hear such stories first hand.

‘It is vital that their memories are preserved and passed on to future generations, so that what they went through will never be forgotten.

‘One of the most moving accounts I read as a young girl was ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ which tells a very personal reflection of life under Nazi occupation from a child’s perspective. Her sensitive and intimate interpretation of the horrors of the time was one of the underlying inspirations behind the images.

‘I wanted to make the portraits deeply personal to Yvonne and Steven – a celebration of family and the life that they have built since they both arrived in Britain in the 1940s. The families brought items of personal significance with them which are included in the photographs.

‘It was a true honour to have been asked to participate in this project and I hope in some way Yvonne and Steven’s memories will be kept alive as they pass the baton to the next generation.’

Mr Frank (pictured as a youngster with his father, right), was among a handful of children to make it out alive. In the picture on right right Mr Frank is centre with his mother and father by his side

Mrs Bernstein (pictured as a youngster) was hidden as a child in France throughout most of the Second World War and her uncle was seized and murdered for shielding her

Kate wrapped up against the cold in her elegant navy jacket from Catherine Walker, which she paired with a cream designer shirt first worn months after her 2011 wedding to Prince William.

Meanwhile the royal also opted to wear Princess Diana’s dazzling diamond and sapphire drop earrings for the outing.

The Catherine Walker coat is a favourite of the Duchess, who first stepped out in the garment earlier this year for Mental Health Awareness Week with a visit to Wolverhampton.

The thrifty mother-of-three first wore the Alexander McQueen top for a visit alongside the Duke on 19th of August 2011, when the royal couple visited Birmingham.

Meanwhile the royal also opted to wear Princess Diana ‘s dazzling diamond and sapphire drop earrings for the outing (pictured)

The Duchess could be seen speaking with members of staff during her outing to the museum in London earlier today (pictured)

Kate wore her lengthy brunette locks in a bouncy blow dry as she arrived at the museum earlier this afternoon (pictured left and right)

The Duchess met with members of staff while visiting the museum in London this evening removing her coat as she toured the new exhibitions

As part of her tour of the museum today, Kate officially opened two new galleries, the Second World War Gallery and the Holocaust Gallery (pictured)

The mother-of-three appeared engaged as she heard about the atrocities of war in two exhibitions during her outing to the museum in London tonight

The mother-of-two could be seen gesturing to various items within the museum as she chatted with staff members about the exhibitions

The Duchess chatted with members of staff as she was given a tour of the museum earlier this afternoon

The thrifty royal first wore the top for a visit alongside the Duke on 19th of August 2011, when the royal couple visited Birmingham (left, and right, today)

She has since re-wore the piece a number of times in the following years, including a visit to Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes in 2014.

Today she paired the distinctive blouse with a pair of smart suit trousers and a lengthy blue long-line coat.

The Duchess wore her locks down in her usual bouncy blow dry style, and kept her makeup minimal for the occasion.

Meanwhile she also added a touch of glamour to the outfit with her pair of dangling blue earrings, and placed a poppy on the collar of her coat.

The earrings, which can be adapted and worn as studs or as drops, are a favourite pair of Kate’s and have been worn by the Duchess on a number of high profile occasions.

As she departed the museum earlier this evening, the Duchess wrapped up warm in her Catherine Walker coat and continued chatting to staff members

The mother-of-three could be seen wrapping her navy Catherine Walker jacket across her body as she left the museum on the cool autumn night

The Duchess of Cambridge could be seen fiddling with her jacket as she stepped out of the London museum earlier this evening

Kate Middleton’s tactile greetings makes her seem accessible, body language expert says – in departure from traditional ‘no touch’ policy

The protocol surrounding touching the Royal Family has historically been so strict that a simple breach like a hand on the back, even by a well-meaning dignitary, was enough to spark column inches of outrage.

But in recent weeks the royals, led by the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, have taken a more relaxed approach to being touchy-feely in a bid to make themselves look approachable, according to a body language expert.

Prince William, 39, and Kate Middleton, 39, earlier this month were pictured hugging Dame Emma Thompson at the Earthshot Awards.

Speaking to FEMAIL, body language expert Judi James noted being more physically available in this manner could be part of a push to make the royals seem more relatable and attainable.

Conversely, the Queen and older generations of royals might have seen a lack of contact as a way to communicate a higher status – but the younger royals are attempting to be more approachable.

There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many chose to observe traditions, which is to bow or curtesy.

‘Royals of the Queen’s generation and before saw the depiction of defined and exaggerated space around them as part of the ritual of their high office,’ Judi said.

‘They sat higher and on bigger chairs or thrones and their spatial distances were wider than anyone else, with only very few moments of that distance being breached in public view.

‘This meant touch was also off the menu. Tactile rituals were confined to occasional handshakes and anyone who has meet the Queen will know that her handshakes involve offered fingers, rather than any pressing of palms.

‘The rule applied to family members, too. Even though their greeting rituals in private were often even more tactile than the public’s, one famous photo of a very small Charles greeting his mother with a handshake after she returned from one of her tours abroad illustrates the ‘no-touch’ rule that was part of the basic fabric of what being royal was all about.’

She noted this approach to interacting with people was kickstarted by Princess Diana, saying: ‘Even after her gloriously spontaneous PDAs it has taken several more decades plus some nudging from Harry and Meghan to get things to where they are today.’

The Duchess firstly visited the new Second World War Galleries, which display over 1,500 collection items from 80 countries that bring to life the impact of the Second World War on millions of people.

She then visited The Holocaust Galleries, which tell the individual stories of some of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust through over 2,000 photos, books, artworks, letters and personal belongings.

During her visit, Kate also unveiled a plaque to officially open the two new Galleries.

The Duchess was then accompanied to Generations: Portraits of the Holocaust, which features over 50 photographic portraits of Holocaust survivors and their families.

Kate toured the exhibition and met with individuals involved in the project, before reuniting with Stephen Frank BEM and Yvonne Bernstein, who she photographed alongside their granddaughters for the exhibition in January 2020.

Mr Frank was among only a handful of children to make it out alive from the last of the many concentration camps he was sent to. By then his father had been gassed to death for speaking out against the Nazis.

Mrs Bernstein was hidden as a child in France throughout most of the Second World War and her uncle was seized and murdered for shielding her.

Both Mr Frank and Mrs Bernstein were photographed at Kensington Palace alongside their granddaughters.

The photos, released last year, are now on display at the Imperial War Museum in an exhibition bringing together more than 50 contemporary portraits of Holocaust survivors and their families.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Instagram account shared the news, writing: ‘Displayed for the very first time, these powerful photographs capture the special connections between Holocaust survivors and the younger generations of their families, and remind us of our collective responsibility to ensure their stories live on

‘The photographs present a group of survivors who made the UK their home after beginnings marked by unimaginable loss and trauma.

‘While offering a space to remember and share their stories, these portraits are a celebration of the full lives they have lived and the special legacy which their children and grandchildren will carry into the future.

‘The exhibition is in partnership with the @RoyalPhotographicSociety and @holocaustmemorialdaytrust, two organisations who invited The Duchess to be part of this special project, marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust last year.’

In one of the pictures Mr Frank is seen holding a pan, this had been one of his mother’s items that he had kept from during his time at Westerbork transit camp. He was later sent to Theresienstadt with his brothers and mother.

Whilst at the camp his mother would do laundry for prisoners in exchange for a small amount of bread. She would put crumbs into the pan, adding hot water to make a paste. She would give each child a spoonful to keep them alive, denying herself of the food.

It was this act of kindness from his mother and her use of the pan that ultimately saved his life. He survived multiple concentration camps and Mr Frank and his and his brothers are three of only 93 children who survived the camp, out of 15,000 children sent there.

Kate, who is patron of the Royal Photographic Society and had produced a thesis on photography during her art history degree, said at the time ‘despite unbelievable trauma at the start of their lives’ they were ‘two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet’.

She added: ‘They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through.

‘Their stories will stay with me forever.’

She added that whilst she had been lucky enough to meet the survivors, she recognised that not everyone in the future would be able to hear such stories first hand.

Kate has always had a passion for photography and she produced her undergraduate thesis on the era of photography – in particular, photographs of children.

She graduated in 2005 from the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, with an undergraduate (2:1 Hons) in the history of art.

Recently she turned her skills to the creation of Hold Still, a book that pulled together photographs of lockdown across the UK.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, cut an elegant figure as she arrived at the Imperial War Museum in London today to officially open two new galleries

The earrings, which can be adapted and worn as studs or as drops, are a favourite pair of Kate’s and have been worn by the Duchess on a number of high profile occasions. Pictured right, Princess Diana wearing the same earrings but as studs at an engagement in May 1988

Meanwhile she also added a touch of glamour to the outfit with her pair of dangling blue earrings, and placed a poppy on the collar of her coat

The royal proved she is still the Queen of thrifty shopping as she recycled several garments for her visit earlier today, including an Alexander McQueen blouse she first wore in 2011 (pictured left and right)

The Duchess of Cambridge beamed widely as she arrived at the museum in London this afternoon to open the galleries

As the mother-of-three walked into the Imperial War Museum earlier this afternoon, she turned to give waiting fans and photographers a brief wave

Meanwhile she also added a touch of glamour to the outfit with a pair of dangling blue earrings, and placed a poppy on the collar of her coat

The mother-of-three was beaming as she arrived for her visit to the Imperial War Museum earlier this afternoon in London (pictured)

The Duchess recycled her navy blue Catherine Walker coat, which she first wore in May this year to visit Wolverhampton (pictured)

Business chic! The Duchess beamed widely as she arrived at the museum to open two new galleries this afternoon (pictured left and right)

The royal paired her Alexander McQueen blouse with a pair of navy blue trousers, heels and her longline Catherine Walker coat (pictured)

The Duchess wore her locks down in her usual bouncy blow dry style, and kept her makeup minimal for the occasion (pictured left and right)

The Duchess also visited the exhibition ‘Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors’, which includes the two portraits she took last year to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust

The Duchess appeared excited ahead of the visit to the museum in central London earlier today (pictured left and right)