After she officially opened two new galleries charting the story of the Holocaust and the Second World War at the Imperial War Museum in London Kate met with Stephen Frank and Yvonne Bernstein, who had both posed with their grandchildren when she photographed them as part of the Generations: Portrait Of Holocaust Survivors project to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust.
As she greeted Mr Frank and his granddaughters, he swept her into a hug and she thanked him for “trusting” her to take his photo.
She said: “I loved the items you chose and the colours. Thank you for your time. You were good sitters. Seeing this really brings back such special memories.
“We need to tell your stories.
“That is what is so powerful about this project, the generational nature of it and the handover of stories.”
She was asked by Mrs Bernstein if she got chance to see much of her children as a young, working mother, to which she replied: “All the time.
“They’re my priority.”
The duchess also spoke with another survivor who had his picture taken by another photographer for the project.
John Hajdu MBE told her how his childhood teddy bear that was also featured in the portrait had been with him since the onslaught of the Nazis, through his stay in the Budapest ghetto and later under Soviet occupation.
The duchess said: “And teddy was with you all the time. Wow, goodness me, what a story.
“I hope parents explain these stories to their children to ensure it never happens again.
“What I love is the personal stories, told in context, like your teddy.”
Mr Hajdu said later: “I am living history and very happy to be here.
“I had only had a chance to grab two things when we left and one was teddy.”
The duchess also viewed the museum’s Second World War Galleries, which display over 1,500 items from 80 countries to bring to life how the conflict impacted many millions of people and toured the new Holocaust Galleries.
She said: “It’s the stories that mean most to me.”
As she looked at photographs telling the life of pre-war Jewish communities living under Nazi rule, the duchess said: “At the time would they have known? (What was to follow).”
Karen Pollock CBE, chief executive of Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The new Holocaust galleries at the Imperial War Museum play a leading role in this country, teaching future generations about the horrors of Europe’s past.
“The Duchess of Cambridge’s presence demonstrates yet again the importance of educating about the Holocaust and her clear personal dedication to our cause.
“We could not be more grateful.”