Kate on why she chose to invite unsung heroes to her Westminster Abbey Christmas carol concert

ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger reports on the inspiring guests invited to a special carol concert by the Duchess of Cambridge after overcoming personal challenges over the pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge has said the pandemic has taught us all how much “we need each other” and how acts of kindness have brought “comfort and relief” during what have been very distressing times.

Kate recorded the message of thanks to introduce her community carol concert which is being broadcast by ITV on Christmas Eve.

The event took place at Westminster Abbey where she invited guests who had served their communities or overcome great personal challenges over the last 18 months.

Kate recognises the 'bleakness' of the pandemic in an impassioned messages

“We’ve been through such a bleak time” and “seen so many challenges”, she said, adding that her ‘Together at Christmas’ carol concert was a way to thank as many people as possible.

Kate said: “We’ve lost our loved ones. We’ve seen our frontline workers under immense pressure. And also we’ve been more emotionally and socially distanced and isolated from each other.”

But she added that the enforced separation and the various lockdowns had made us all realise “how much we need each other and how acts of kindness and love can really bring us comfort and relief in times of distress.”

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The Duchess’ festive event includes carols from the Westminster Abbey choir, and performances from Leona Lewis and Ellie Goulding.

There are also readings from her husband, Prince William and Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, whose husband, Derek Draper, has been seriously ill with Covid.

The Duchess recorded the message at Westminster Abbey the day before the carol concert and helped to decorate the Christmas trees which had been donated by The Queen from Windsor Great Park. 

The Queen donated a Christmas tree from Windsor Great Park.

The congregation included many of the people William and Kate met during their engagements over the last year, who Kate called “inspirational individuals”.

“We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all they’ve done in bringing people together and supporting their communities,” she said.

The Duchess spoke about the carols chosen for the concert and revealed how music had helped her during lockdowns.

“Music was so important to me during the pandemic as I think it was to so many people too,” she said.

The event was originally scheduled to be broadcast on the BBC but was moved to ITV after the BBC aired a documentary about the Royal Family's relations with the press.

Kate said the concert, which was still made by the BBC Studios production arm, was “about celebrating the goodwill, the acts of kindness, love, empathy, and compassion to help people come through these difficult times".

Royal Carols: Together At Christmas airs Christmas Eve at 7:30pm on ITV and ITV Hub.