The 'real life Princess' who picked Mila's picture that the 'entire world will see'

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Correspondent Chris Ship

If you ever wondered how much impact the Duchess of Cambridge’s portrait competition can have on some people’s lives, then listen to four-year-old Mila Sneddon, who I had the pleasure to meet yesterday.

Mila has leukaemia and has spent most days since her diagnosis last November having treatment, including chemotherapy.

In the height of the lockdown, ITV News reported on how she had been separated from her father, who still had to go to work but could not risk bringing coronavirus into the family home in Falkirk.

So they could only see each other through the kitchen window.

The photograph of Mila and her Daddy, submitted to Kate’s Hold Still project with the National Portrait Gallery, has been chosen as one of the 100 finalists from the 31,000 images sent in.

Yesterday Mila, who started school last month, told me as she played with her Paw Patrol toys: “There is a real life Princess who picked my picture. The Queen knows about everything, everyone in this whole entire world will see my picture."

Mila was excited to receive a letter from the Queen, which we read out to her.

We also showed Mila the letter that the Queen has sent her and the other finalists.

She’s never had a letter from an actual Queen before.

Her mum, Lynda, says it’s been “really overwhelming” and the letter and photo will be something for Mila to look back on.

Scott and Lynda, Mila’s mum and dad, told us how hard it was to be separated for so long.

“It was hard enough before coronavirus”, they said.

Mila is reunited with her father after he moved out to protect her from coronavirus

But they hoped their situation would help others, who were also having to make tough choices by sending out the message “if they can do that – we can too”.

Mila is pretty excited about her letter and her photo – and it will be something happy to think about when she has to take her nightly pills of chemotherapy, or get her monthly intravenous treatment in hospital to keep attacking her cancer.

She still has an 18-month battle ahead of her.

We wish her every luck in the world.