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Kate photo: Princess of Wales apologizes for 'altered' image

Published March 11, 2024last updated March 11, 2024

The photograph was the first official image of Catherine, the Princess of Wales, since her abdominal surgery nearly two months ago. News agencies later retracted the family portrait, saying it had been manipulated.

The Princess of Wales, wearing a blue hat, smiles in front of a crowd taking photos
There has been intense speculation about Kate's well-being following surgery in January Image: Stephen Lock/i-Images/IMAGO

Catherine, Britain's Princess of Wales, apologized on Monday after an official photo released by Kengsington Palace was retracted by several news organizations.

The photo showing Kate and her family was removed from publication by the organizations due to alterations that failed to meet editorial standards.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," Kate said on the platform X, formerly Twitter.

"I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused."

Why was the photo retracted?

The photo was the first official image of the princess since Kate's abdominal surgery nearly two months ago. Its release came amid intense online speculation about her well-being.

The image shows a smiling Kate surrounded by her three children, Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte. The photo was supposedly taken by Prince William, the heir to the British throne.

A number of news agencies, including Getty, Reuters, The Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse, later withdrew the photograph citing image manipulation.

The AFP news agency said in a note to clients that it had come to light that the handout photo was "altered and therefore it was withdrawn from AFP systems."

Similarly, an AP statement reasoned that "the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP's photo standards."

The Princess of Wales with her three children and a close-up of nconsitencies including a missing part on Princess Charlotte's sleeve, her hair ending abruptly on her shoulder and the zip on the Princess of Wales being lighter than the rest of it
Inconsitencies identified include a missing part on Princess Charlotte's sleeve, her hair ending abruptly on her shoulder and the zip on the Princess of Wales being lighter than the rest of itImage: Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace/AFP

Inconsistencies in the new photo of the Princess of Wales

The image was intended to celebrate Mother's Day and mark Kate's first public appearance after her hospitalization for the surgery on January 16. It was posted on X with a message from the princess saying, "Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day."

It was signed "C" for Catherine.

Upon closer examination, Princess Charlotte's left hand appears to be misaligned with the sleeve of her cardigan.

Social media users also pointed out other inconsistencies in the image.

The manipulation only sparked further speculation regarding Kate's health. She has been absent from public royal life since Christmas Day. The 42-year-old princess has been recovering from surgery mainly at her home in Windsor, according to Kensington Palace.

This incident comes as King Charles III has withdrawn from public duties as he undergoes treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer.

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ss/nm (AP, AFP, Reuters)