Duchess of Cambridge: Praise for Kate’s piano skills at abbey carol concert

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The Duchess of Cambridge has won high praise after playing the piano at a community carol service at Westminster Abbey.

Pop star Tom Walker, who performed alongside Kate for the ITV show Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, described her as an “amazing musician”.

The service was recorded on December 8 but full details of the programme were kept secret until the show aired on Christmas Eve.

Walker revealed that he and the duchess would get together for top-secret rehearsals in a recording studio ahead of the concert.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Kate hosted the event to thank people who have supported their communities during the pandemic.

British singer-songwriter Walker, known for his hit Leave A Light On, said he was approached by the duchess to perform at the carol service after meeting at a charity event – and they ended up jamming together and performing his previously unheard Christmas song, For Those Who Can’t Be Here.

Walker said: “I didn’t even know she played piano.

“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.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

“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.

“And I was really impressed because it’s one thing playing along with me in a studio, just the two of us, but then to jump straight in to playing with a live string quartet and a pianist and two backing singers, all of which she’d never met before, and then doing live takes in front of the camera – that’s a whole other jump from jamming.

“She absolutely nailed it and I was so surprised at how great she was at keeping time, because she had to start the song off and lead it.

“Amazing musician and what an amazing day, it was crazy.”

A clip on the Kensington Palace Twitter feed earlier teased Kate’s performance.

The duchess had three years of piano lessons up until the age of 13 and gained her grade three piano and grade five theory.

Ahead of her wedding in 2011, Kate’s former piano teacher Daniel Nicholls described her as “absolutely lovely” and a “delightful person to teach the piano”.

However he added: “I don’t think anyone would say she was going to be a concert pianist, but she was good at it, she always did everything she was told.”

Walker said Kate told him “she loved the lyrics” of his song about absent friends and family members but did not discuss her husband’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April.

“I think just everybody has lost somebody in their lives at some point and Christmas is the time to remember people who aren’t around who you used to have really fond memories of and still do, but you can’t reminisce with them in person,” he said.

“So I think that’s why she connected with the lyrics.”

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

Walker said of the concert: “I think we were both really nervous that it wasn’t going to go quite to plan and one of us would let down the other person or whatever, but she was absolutely fabulous – she smashed it.

“What a talented, kind, warm-hearted, lovely person.

“She’s very chilled, very nice and she was so kind to everybody who was there – personally introduced herself to the whole band.

“It was just lovely. A big moment for me in my career.”

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.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

The duchess 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.”

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.

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