A Stoke-on-Trent family’s snapshot of life during lockdown has now been featured in the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast.
The photo showed four sisters, their mum, aunt and cousin all celebrating a socially distanced Eid during the first national lockdown in May.
Roshni Haque, from Dresden, submitted the picture for a National Portrait Gallery digital exhibition, organised in partnership with the Duchess of Cambridge. Just 100 portraits out of 31,000 entries were selected for the Hold Still show.
And now the family snap has also featured in the Queen’s speech, which showcased some of the winning photos to illustrate the best of Britain during the pandemic. The broadcast attracted more than six million viewers.
Nineteen-year-old Roshni, who works as a welcome host at Crewe railway station, said: “I was contacted just before Christmas, saying Buckingham Palace would like to use the photo. I didn’t expect that at all!
“It’s amazing. We are such a little place and the Queen’s speech is such a big thing. We were not just representing Stoke-on-Trent, but also our religion.
“This pandemic hasn’t just been something that affects people celebrating Christmas. It’s everybody. Inclusivity was one of the main messages of the Queen’s speech.”
The photo was taken just after Ramadan when Roshni and her extended family would normally be having a big celebration.
Her sister Bipasha Haque, aged 25, said: “My auntie and cousin are also on the picture. They had come to visit us, but they couldn’t come into the house. Luckily, we have a decent-sized garden.
“The picture was taken outside our house and we tried to capture what our new normal is.”
Most of the family are also employed as key workers and have been on the frontline serving local communities during the pandemic.
Their jobs include a teaching assistant, lunchtime supervisor, care worker, nurse and factory worker.
Manchester Metropolitan University student Bipasha could not believe it when they appeared on national TV.
“We actually missed it at first because we didn’t know we would be featured in the first couple of minutes. But we rewound it and watched it together,” she said.
“The Queen did a really good job of representing all faiths and cultures. It was quite an honour to be in it.”
Now they have been inundated with messages from people who spotted the photo on TV.
Also in the picture are sisters Nisha Haque and Moonisha Haque, mum Rumi Begum, aunt Shaheda Begum and cousin Nadia Begum.
The Queen’s address – the most watched TV programme on Christmas Day – paid tribute to the ‘indomitable spirit’ of the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from Windsor Castle, Her Majesty said: “Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer.”
She added: “Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need.
“In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit. To our young people, in particular, I say thank you for the part you have played.”