Prince William and Kate Middleton teamed up for a poignant engagement on Monday to honor survivors of the Holocaust. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in London, where they joined UK faith, political and civic leaders at the service. “We were talking this morning about how you carry on this message for future generations. We will do our best,” William said.
Prince George’s father spoke at the service reading a letter written by a friend of his paternal great-grandmother Princess Alice. Prince Philip’s late mother is famed for having sheltered a Jewish family in Nazi-occupied Greece. “When the persecution of the Jews by the Germans began, Princess Alice asked to be informed about the fate of the Cohen family. Having been informed by friends and by her lady in waiting about the plight of Mrs. Cohen and her young daughter, the Princess decided to offer her hospitality to the two ladies; in fact to hide them in her home despite the danger this entailed,” William read. “The Princess put a small two-room apartment on the third floor at the disposal of Mrs. Cohen and her daughter. It was thanks to the courageous rescue of Princess Alice that the members of the Cohen family were saved.”
“The members of the Cohen family left the residence three weeks after liberation, aware that by virtue of the Princess’s generosity and bravery had spared them from the Nazis,” the letter continued. “The great-granddaughter of Rachel Cohen, Evy Cohen, said this 2 years ago: ‘My family would not exist without the courageous act of Princess Alice. Her story of incredible courage must keep being told in her memory. My generation, the past generation and the future generation are, and will eternally be, grateful to Princess Alice for the great act of bravery, risking her own life to take in a family in need.’” Kate reportedly appeared emotional during the reading.
The Duchess recycled her charcoal Catherine Walker coat dress for the somber outing, which she paired with cluster pearl earrings. The mom of three marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust by photographing two survivors and their respective grandchildren. “The harrowing atrocities of the Holocaust, which were caused by the most unthinkable evil, will forever lay heavy in our hearts. Yet it is so often through the most unimaginable adversity that the most remarkable people flourish,” Kate said in a statement. “Despite unbelievable trauma at the start of their lives, Yvonne Bernstein and Steven Frank are two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet. They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through. Their stories will stay with me forever.”