WHEN a Newport mum helped her daughter with her homework, she had no idea it would lead to them chatting with royalty.

Last year Ceri Edwards, from Newport, helped her daughter Poppy – who was seven at the time – with homework set by Mount Pleasant Primary School which involved submitting a lockdown-inspired portrait to be considered for an exhibition at National Portrait Gallery in London.

She admits she ‘didn’t really think much more of it’ but the photo – which features Poppy (now aged eight) hugging her paramedic dad Mark before his shift – was selected as one of the 100 portraits included in the ‘Hold Still’ exhibition, with 31,598 submitted from across the UK.


South Wales Argus: 'Be Safe Daddy x' (Picture: Ceri A. Edwards/National Portrait Gallery, London)

'Be Safe Daddy x' (Picture: Ceri A. Edwards/National Portrait Gallery, London)

“Poppy was very excited about it all – she thought she was going to be a celebrity appearing on TV,” laughed Ms Edwards.

‘Hold Still’ was a project to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown, spearheaded by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, who is patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Duchess of Cambridge even called the mother and daughter following the success of the photo titled 'Be Safe Daddy x'.

“When I was contacted about having a phone call with the Duchess of Cambridge, I thought it was a wind-up at first,” confessed Ms Edwards.

South Wales Argus: Ceri, Poppy, and Mark Edwards

Ceri, Poppy, and Mark Edwards 

“After the initial nerves, the Duchess really put me at ease – she seemed warm and interested, it felt almost like talking to a friend.

“I thought the call would be a few minutes to say ‘thank you very much’ but the call went on for about 15 minutes.

“She mentioned George [her son] being in the same year as Poppy and they talked about volcanoes and paper mâché – she seems like a down-to-earth parent.

South Wales Argus: The Edwards family including Poppy's brothers George and Tom

The Edwards family including Poppy's brothers George and Tom 

“You could tell she is passionate about the project, and it’s been such a positive experience – it’s something we will cherish forever.”

The family were gifted a hardback copy of the ‘Hold Still’ book - which features all 100 of the lockdown-inspired photos chosen for the exhibition.

To find out more about the exhibition or browse the 'Hold Still' exhibition visit www.npg.org.uk/hold-still