A decade ago, their first Mother’s Day portrait was greeted with nothing but warmth. Now, as this doctored photo provokes a welter of conspiracy theories, we pose 20 questions Palace should answer to end the frenzied gossip about THAT picture

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina

MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MLB MLB MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL

  • Kate’s admission that she had doctored the photograph and her apology for doing so have triggered a furious debate about transparency and trust 
  • The silence created a vacuum that led to unprecedented online mockery

What a huge amount of change can happen in ten years.

Back in 2014, Kate and William issued their first Mother’s Day photo.

Printed on the front page of The Mail on Sunday, our report described the image as ‘a tender, natural and intimate portrait… never before has a Royal portrait beckoned to an audience with quite the same promise of effortless informality’.

Taken by an award-winning photographer at a window of their home in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they were then, were practically still newlyweds.

Prince Harry had just launched his Invictus Games, while Meghan Markle was a relative unknown in Britain, working on the other side of the Atlantic filming the legal drama Suits and running her lifestyle blog, The Tig.

There are still many unanswered questions (Kensington Palace declined to comment)

Printed on the front page of The Mail on Sunday, our report described the image as ‘a tender, natural and intimate portrait... never before has a Royal portrait beckoned to an audience with quite the same promise of effortless informality’

Printed on the front page of The Mail on Sunday, our report described the image as ‘a tender, natural and intimate portrait… never before has a Royal portrait beckoned to an audience with quite the same promise of effortless informality’

If a picture is worth a thousand words – although in both cases it was far more – in 2014, they were mostly platitudes and pleasantries. But amid the reams of press coverage following last week’s Mother’s Day image, it would be safe to assume a fair few were unprintable expletives.

There are still many unanswered questions (Kensington Palace declined to comment on this piece).

Kate’s admission that she had doctored the photograph and her apology for doing so have triggered a furious debate about transparency and trust – a key pillar of public support for the monarchy.

Some Palace insiders felt commenting further would merely give the story unwanted oxygen.

But the silence created a vacuum that led to unprecedented online mockery and conspiracy theories.

Such is the level of controversy that the Daily Mail’s respected royal expert Richard Kay wrote yesterday: ‘If the Royal Family is not quite at the 11th hour, it is perilously close.’

Sadly, what the public has officially been told is scant. It was reported that William took the picture of his family on Friday, March 8.

It was published to the Prince and Princess of Wales’s official Instagram at 9am last Sunday and then sent to news outlets.

Kensington Palace was soon fielding questions from journalists about why the Princess was not wearing a wedding ring, but aides declined to comment.

By 8pm on Sunday, the Associated Press news agency had issued a ‘kill notice’ saying the image had been manipulated.

It was swiftly followed by Getty, AFP and Reuters. At 10.30am on Monday, an unprecedented mea culpa was shared on Kensington Palace’s social media platforms, attributed to the Princess. It reverberated around the world.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica dubbed the incident ‘Photoshop-gate’ while Japan Today reported on the ‘Katespiracy’ and El Universal, one of Mexico’s biggest papers, said the photo showed a ‘failure of the Royal Family’s communication strategy’.

Kensington Palace was soon fielding questions from journalists about why the Princess was not wearing a wedding ring, but aides declined to comment

Kensington Palace was soon fielding questions from journalists about why the Princess was not wearing a wedding ring, but aides declined to comment

It was reported that William took the picture of his family on Friday, March 8

It was reported that William took the picture of his family on Friday, March 8

Analysis of the metadata, information attached to images and left attached by the Palace when the photo was issued, revealed it had been saved on Photoshop, an editing tool, once on Friday evening and again the following morning.

It soon became clear that many Britons supported the Princess – who was said to be ‘shell-shocked’ – and viewed the controversy as a tempest in a teapot.

Yet as Kate continues to recover from a serious abdominal procedure and William gets back to work as normal this week with an engagement in Sheffield, after the chaos caused by his family’s Mother’s Day photo, there are fears that nothing will be ‘normal’ for the Royal Family any time soon.

 QUESTIONS THAT THE PALACE MUST ANSWER

1 Who made the decision to release a surprise Mother’s Day picture – and with such little advance notice?

2 Why wasn’t William in the picture?

3 Why didn’t the couple – or their advisers – realise that editing several aspects of the image would be immediately spotted?

4 Most obviously, people would have noticed the absence of Kate’s wedding ring. Surely, if editing software was to be used, the ring would have been the first thing to ensure was present?

5 Were any staff involved in the production of the photo?

6Why was the image shared with its metadata attached, which revealed how it had been saved in photo-editing software Adobe Photoshop twice on an Apple Mac and the exact times that this was done on the night of Friday, March 8, and the following morning?

7 After the boss of the AFP news agency told the BBC that Kensington Palace did not respond to questions raised about the image, leading to a ‘kill notice’, why didn’t royal aides intervene and try to prevent the AFP and other news agencies taking such drastic action?

8 When news agencies pulled the picture amid concerns over the image being ‘manipulated’, why didn’t royal officials clear the air by releasing the unedited original?

9 Why did the Palace not explain what specifically had been edited in the picture?

10 When Kate personally apologised on Monday for any ‘confusion’ caused, saying she had edited the image, why didn’t William share the blame as the photo was his copyright?

11 While the statement said the Princess ‘occasionally experimented with editing’, why did Palace staff not confirm if previously family photos taken by Kate have been edited?

12 Why wasn’t a professional photographer asked to take the picture?

13 What other damage-limitation moves were made by royal staff?

14 Will the Waleses continue to take official family photographs themselves?

15 Why have we still not been told why William suddenly, at very short notice last month, pulled out of attending a memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece, his godfather?

16 Are there disagreements between staff working for Charles and the Waleses about the amount of information publicly divulged about the King’s cancer treatment and Kate’s surgery – with regular and detailed bulletins issued about Charles, whereas very little has been announced about Kate’s condition?

17 Both the Prince and the Princess of Wales have relatively new private secretaries. Do they have more experienced aides giving them advice?

18 Why did the Army announce on its website that Kate would appear at Trooping the Colour in June only to remove the statement within hours amid confusion after Kensington Palace said it had not confirmed her appearance?

19 What will Kensington Palace do to restore trust in the information it shares?

20 Don’t Palace aides realise that the public have huge sympathy for any royal with health issues and more openness about any condition will only add to that support?

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL