Tom Walker: Duchess of Cambridge ‘absolutely smashed’ piano performance at Christmas carol service

ITV News Correspondent Rishi Davda reports on The Duchess of Cambridge delighting the audience at a community carol service with her piano playing skills

The Duchess of Cambridge “absolutely smashed" playing the piano at a community Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey, singer Tom Walker has said.

Walker, a British singer-songwriter known for his hit Leave A Light On, described Kate as an “amazing musician” and said the pair got together for top-secret rehearsals in a recording studio ahead of the concert, which was broadcast on ITV on Christmas Eve.

Kate hosted the event, Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic.

Watch the full clip of Kate playing the piano while pop star Tom Walker sings at the abbey carol concert broadcast on ITV

Walker said he was approached by the duchess to perform at the service after meeting at a charity event- and they later ended up performing his previously unheard Christmas song, For Those Who Can’t Be Here.

"Without doubt, it was a once in a lifetime experience," he said.

"I thought she absolutely smashed the performance; it's not easy to just jump behind a piano with a bunch of musicians you've never played with before and record live takes to camera, but she completely nailed it."

The duchess, who was described by Walker as a "warm-hearted, lovely person", has gained her grade three piano and grade five theory.

Walker described the secret nature of the rehearsals in preparation for the show.

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“I didn’t even know she played piano," he said.

“It was very secret, very secret – even the studio didn’t know what was going on. We were sitting on opposite sides of the room for Covid, rehearsing."

“So, we got together, we rehearsed the song like nine times and by the end of it she’d absolutely nailed it, and then she went away for a couple of days and practised it, and then we finally got to do the recording of it."

In a recorded introduction to the service, the duchess paid tribute to the “inspirational” people who have served their communities during the “bleak time” of the pandemic.

Kate said: “We wanted to say a huge thank you to all those amazing people out there who have supported their communities.

“We also wanted to recognise those whose struggles perhaps have been less visible too.”

On Christmas Day, Kate and William issued a festive issued a Christmas message, saying they are thinking of those who are alone or away from their loved ones, and the people “caring for those most in need”.

A tweet from the @KensingtonRoyal account, signed by the couple, said: “This Christmas will be different to what so many of us had planned.

“From those who are alone or having to isolate away from loved ones, to the incredible people supporting our NHS and caring for those most in need – we are thinking of you. W & C.”

The duchess said the country had been through “such a bleak time” and had faced “many challenges”, including the loss of loved ones, while frontline workers had been under “immense pressure”.

The service was attended by those Kate and William had spent time with during recent engagements, as well as members of the armed forces involved in Operation Pitting to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan, young carers, faith leaders and those who may have been more vulnerable or isolated during the pandemic.