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Kate Middleton’s Christmas Duet Partner Tom Walker Says Working With Her Was “Incredible”

For the last few years, Kate Middleton has been dropping hints about the new hobbies she picked up once the pandemic drastically curtailed her schedule, from beekeeping to photography. But it came as a surprise last month when the duchess sat behind the piano and joined Scottish singer Tom Walker onstage for a performance during Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, the ITV holiday special she hosted at Westminster Abbey. 

On Wednesday, Walker spoke to the morning show Good Morning Britain to discuss their surprise collaboration and how it came about. “We did a charity event together and got chatting and I was approached after that to ask if I could play the carol service,” he said. “The duchess’s team asked if she could join me on piano for the concert live—incredible.” 

In October, Kate attended an event for the Forward Trust, her patronage that supports families struggling with addiction, where Walker performed his song “Leave a Light On.” Though Kate was confident onstage when she delivered a speech about the effect the pandemic had on people in addiction recovery, Sky News’s Rhiannon Mills shared a video that showed the duchess get a little flustered when she unexpectedly ran into Walker and comedians Ant and Dec in the hallway. 

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A royal source later told Town and Country that the meeting led Kate to dream up a plan involving her revived appreciation for the piano, which she learned to play as a child but “brought great comfort to her” during the lockdowns. “The idea for the performance was the Duchess’. She was impressed by Tom when she met him and heard him play “Leave a Light On”—a song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction, an issue which as you know, she is passionate about.” the source said. “He was approached to play at the service, and his Christmas song, “For Those Who Can’t Be Here,” which has such pertinence for so many this year, also struck a chord with the duchess.”

On Good Morning Britain, Walker complimented her music skill. “She’s fantastic, a really talented musician,” he said. “We had a top-secret rehearsal to make sure we were both comfortable with playing with each other. It was at Metropolis Studios.”

In a previous conversation with the Sun, Walker noted that Kate did experience a bit of stage fright before the big night. “You think the royal family almost don’t get nervous, they’re so used to the spotlight, but this was obviously a very different, new experience for her,” he said. “We met for a rehearsal beforehand and I gave her a recording of the track without the piano part so she could practice. It was obvious she had taken the time to perfect it. She was brilliant.

He said Kate later sent him a thank you note. “It was so well received—I probably owe her royalties now. She sent me a letter thanking me for the opportunity, but it should be me thanking her,” he added. “The song has jumped 57 places in the charts. It was a wonderful experience and she was so warm. She made the effort to thank all the musicians but it was us who felt so grateful to be part of something so special.”

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