Kate overcomes her nerves with surprise piano performance: Duchess accompanies singer Tom Walker with poignant song ‘remembering those who cannot be with us’ at Westminster Abbey Part 1

  • Duchess of Cambridge has played the piano to accompany singer Tom Walker at Westminster Abbey
  • They recorded ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ one day before community carol service on December 8
  • Kate had the idea for the performance following a meeting with Walker at a charity event in October
  • Walker says Kate is a ‘lovely, kind and warm hearted person’ and ‘absolutely smashed’ the performance

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Published: 07:00 AEST, 25 December 2021 | Updated: 21:53 AEST, 25 December 2021

The Duchess of Cambridge gave millions of Britons a Christmas treat on TV tonight as she played the piano to accompany singer Tom Walker with a poignant song performed by candlelight at Westminster Abbey.

Kate, who has tickled the ivories since she was a child, recorded the song with Walker in the Chapter House of the Abbey, one day before a community carol service on December 8 which was shown on ITV this evening.

They played his Christmas single ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ together, after the Duchess had the idea for the performance following a meeting with Walker when she heard him play at a charity function in October. 

At that event for The Forward Trust, a London-based charity that helps people with drug and alcohol dependence, Walker played ‘Leave a Light On’ – a song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction.

And the 30-year-old singer was then approached to play for the carol service, with Kate, 39, having come up with the idea of accompanying him on the piano after music brought ‘great comfort’ to her during the lockdowns.

The Duchess was said to be ‘quite nervous’ during her first rehearsal ‘because she hadn’t played with another musician in a very long time’, reported Mirror Online. 

Walker said the pair had to sit on opposite sides of the room to practice the emotional performance due to Covid. 

He told MailOnline the whole plan was ‘very, very secret’, adding that they were both scared of messing it up.  

Walker praised Kate (pictured playing the piano during Friday's aired ITV performance) for being an 'amazing musician' and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and 'invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right'

Walker praised Kate (pictured playing the piano during Friday’s aired ITV performance) for being an ‘amazing musician’ and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and ‘invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right’

Kate plays the grand piano while Tom Walker sings his emotional Christmas single For Those Who Can't Be Here, which aired on ITV on Christmas Eve

Kate plays the grand piano while Tom Walker sings his emotional Christmas single For Those Who Can’t Be Here, which aired on ITV on Christmas Eve

Kate (seen far left) and Tom Walker (centre) gave an emotional performance by candlelight at Westminster Abbey

Kate (seen far left) and Tom Walker (centre) gave an emotional performance by candlelight at Westminster Abbey

Tom Walker performed For Those Who Can't Be Here alongside the Duchess of Cambridge in an event broadcast last night

Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was ‘shocked at how much better she was’ when it came to the actual show, which left him ‘really impressed.’

While Kate has played the piano since childhood, the type she was practicing on, which would be the same one used in the performance, was different to hers at home, so she had to get used to it, revealed Walker.  

He said: ‘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.’ 

He added: ‘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.’ 

The song was written by Walker for ‘anyone raising a glass around the table remembering those who can’t be with us’ this festive season – as hundreds of thousands of people are set to spend Christmas Day in self-isolation with Covid-19, while others think of members of their family and friends they have lost to the virus or other causes. 

Walker described the Duchess as a ‘lovely, kind and warm hearted person’ and praised her for having ‘absolutely smashed’ the performance, adding that it was a ‘crazy pinch yourself kind of day’ for him.

He also praised Kate for being an ‘amazing musician’ and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and ‘invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right’.

Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was ‘shocked at how much better she was’ when it came to the actual show, which left him ‘really impressed.’

Explaining that his mother had a ‘total freak out’, he said: ‘It was truly an honour playing alongside The Duchess for Royal Carols: Together At Christmas. Without doubt, it was a once in a lifetime experience.

‘I thought she absolutely smashed the performance; it’s not easy to just jump behind a piano with a bunch of musicians you’ve never played with before and record live takes to camera, but she completely nailed it. 

‘She’s such a lovely, kind and warm hearted person and she took the time to thank everyone personally for the opportunity to play together. 

Prince William also spoke during the service, taking to the lectern to read a verse from Luke 2: 1-7, from the Bible (pictured)

Prince William also spoke during the service, taking to the lectern to read a verse from Luke 2: 1-7, from the Bible (pictured)

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William and Kate donned black face masks as they entered Westminster Abbey, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spotted sitting in the row behind them, next to Kate's sister Pippa

William and Kate donned black face masks as they entered Westminster Abbey, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spotted sitting in the row behind them, next to Kate’s sister Pippa

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen talking to clergymen and attendees of the event, which was recorded on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen talking to clergymen and attendees of the event, which was recorded on December 8 

Will and Kate greet the 'special guests' who were all invited to the service for having supported their communities during the pandemic

Will and Kate greet the ‘special guests’ who were all invited to the service for having supported their communities during the pandemic

Leona Lewis gave a stunning performance of O Holy Night, while donning a stunning sparkling dark green gown

Leona Lewis gave a stunning performance of O Holy Night, while donning a stunning sparkling dark green gown

Ellie Goulding also performed during the service, donning a satin full length dress complete with sheer long sleeves and heavy silver embellishing that scattered outwards from her waist. The British star sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Ellie Goulding also performed during the service, donning a satin full length dress complete with sheer long sleeves and heavy silver embellishing that scattered outwards from her waist. The British star sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

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Harry Potter star Tom Felton read the poignant poem A Letter From A Soldier To His Sister, from The Christmas Truce, by Aaron Shepherd (pictured)

Harry Potter star Tom Felton read the poignant poem A Letter From A Soldier To His Sister, from The Christmas Truce, by Aaron Shepherd (pictured)

Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Potter film franchise, wore a dark coloured suit and white shirt as he read the heartfelt poem amid service men and women

Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Potter film franchise, wore a dark coloured suit and white shirt as he read the heartfelt poem amid service men and women 

Kate Garraway gave a reading during the service, amid her husband Derek's well publicised and ongoing battle with long Covid. The journalist and TV presenter read Love Came Down At Christmas, by Christina Rossetti

Kate Garraway gave a reading during the service, amid her husband Derek’s well publicised and ongoing battle with long Covid. The journalist and TV presenter read Love Came Down At Christmas, by Christina Rossetti 

Kate and William arrive to the iconic Westminster Abbey for the extra special carol service

Kate and William arrive to the iconic Westminster Abbey for the extra special carol service 

A group of carol singers gathered outside the Abbey as the guests entered

A group of carol singers gathered outside the Abbey as the guests entered

Carol singing children and teens don woolly hats and scarves as they welcomed guests to Westminster Abbey

Carol singing children and teens don woolly hats and scarves as they welcomed guests to Westminster Abbey

The dozens of attendees were seen singing along to classic Christmas carols, pictured here lighting up their hymn sheets

The dozens of attendees were seen singing along to classic Christmas carols, pictured here lighting up their hymn sheets

The jaw-dropping Westminster Abbey, first established in the year 960, created a stunning backdrop for the service

The jaw-dropping Westminster Abbey, first established in the year 960, created a stunning backdrop for the service

The service opened with a choirboy singing Once In Royal David's City (pictured)

The service opened with a choirboy singing Once In Royal David’s City (pictured) 

A group of choirboys joined in the opening hymn of Once In Royal David's City, donning traditional red and white robes

A group of choirboys joined in the opening hymn of Once In Royal David’s City, donning traditional red and white robes

The scene was set at Westminster Abbey, with a traditional nativity scene and Christmas trees (pictured)

The scene was set at Westminster Abbey, with a traditional nativity scene and Christmas trees (pictured)

Kate's performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic

Kate’s performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic

Prince William and Kate smile at each other at 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Prince William and Kate smile at each other at ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Tom Walker performs his Christmas single 'For Those Who Can't Be Here' at the 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' service

Tom Walker performs his Christmas single ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ at the ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ service

Tom Walker
Tom Walker

Tom Walker plays his song ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ (left) and lights a candle (right) at the carol service on December 8

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‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ by Tom Walker 

We put the lights up on the tree

And all the presents underneath

Light the fire it’s getting cold

Another year of will it snow

Mixing lager and champagne

Something I’ll never do again

Round the table banter flows

Praying no one rocks the boat

Still I know this picture’s not quite right

There’s someone on your mind

First Christmastime without him by your side, I know

The sound of Christmas bells

They never say farewell

So we laugh, we shed a tear

For those who can’t be here

We’re drinking sherry just because

Confessing all our Christmas love

Watch Home Alone for the thousandth time

It’s the only movie that we all like

But I know this picture’s not quite right

There’s someone on my mind

First Christmastime without him by our side, I know

He loved these Christmas bells

Because they never say farewell

So we laugh, we shed a tear

For those who can’t be here

For those who can’t be here

For those who can’t be here

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)  

‘It was a crazy pinch yourself kind of day for me, to be in such a beautiful venue playing alongside The Duchess with my band and a string quartet.

‘I certainly won’t forget that in a hurry. My mum had a total freak out when she saw it on the telly. 

‘I know this song will resonate with a lot of people this Christmas and my heart goes out to anyone raising a glass around the table remembering those who can’t be with us.’

The performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic. 

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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