Palace refuses to release original Kate Mother’s Day photo after Princess apologised for causing ‘confusion’ with picture that SHE edited – as experts warn public ‘will now question if health updates can be trusted’

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina

Kensington Palace has refused to release the original Mother’s Day portrait of the Princess of Wales and her children – after Kate publicly took the blame for editing the family photograph.

The Palace had come under mounting pressure to reveal the truth behind the photo after the world’s top picture agencies – including the Press Association – ‘killed’ the image over claims it had been digitally manipulated.

Kate this morning admitted that she had edited the photograph and issued a personal apology ‘for any confusion’ it had caused.

The photo of the mother-of-three beaming with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis was the first official picture released of the princess since she underwent ‘planned abdominal surgery’ in January. 

Despite calls for the original to be published, Kensington Palace said it would not be reissuing the unedited photograph of Kate and her children.

Kate, in a statement on social media, said: ‘Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C’  

Royal sources stressed that this was ‘an amateur, family photograph taken by the Prince of Wales’. It’s understood that it was taken in Windsor last week.

Kensington Palace yesterday released the first picture of the Princess of Wales since surgery

The Princess of Wales has admitted that she edited the Mother's Day portrait and apologised 'for any confusion' that it caused

The Princess of Wales has admitted that she edited the Mother’s Day portrait and apologised ‘for any confusion’ that it caused

The PA news agency said it had withdrawn the image of Kate from its picture service today

The PA news agency said it had withdrawn the image of Kate from its picture service today

They said the couple wanted to offer an ‘informal’ picture of the family together for Mother’s Day and the princess made ‘minor adjustments’, as she has shared in her statement on social media. An aide added: ‘The Wales family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day.’

It comes after PA – Britain’s most respected picture agency – this morning joined AP, AFP, Reuters, Getty Images and EPA in withdrawing the photo.

The UK’s national news agency said it had been ‘seeking urgent clarification about the image from Kensington Palace’ since it was released over claims it was digitally altered.

Statements from the picture agencies who have ‘killed’ the image

AP

‘The Associated Press initially published the photo, which was issued by Kensington Palace. The AP later retracted the image because at closer inspection, it appears that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards. The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.’

AFP

‘It has come to light that the Handout issued by Kensington Palace today of Kate and the kids had been altered, therefore it was withdrawn from AFP systems.’

Reuters

‘We are removing this image following a post publication review.’

Getty Images

‘Earlier today our picture desk identified a problematic image provided to Getty Images by Kensington Palace. We can confirm the image in question was removed from our site in accordance with our editorial policy.’

PA 

A spokesperson for PA said: ‘Like other news agencies, PA Media issued the handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the Princess of Wales and her children in good faith yesterday.

‘We became aware of concerns about the image and we carried a report about it last night, and made clear that we were seeking urgent clarification about the image from Kensington Palace. In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service.’

 

Advertisement

But in a sensational development this morning, PA revealed that it had now withdrawn the image ‘in the absence of that clarification’.

A spokesperson for PA said: ‘Like other news agencies, PA Media issued the handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the Princess of Wales and her children in good faith yesterday.

‘We became aware of concerns about the image and we carried a report about it last night, and made clear that we were seeking urgent clarification about the image from Kensington Palace. In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service.’

PA became the sixth news or picture agency to retract the photo. 

The image of Kate and her children, said by the palace to have been taken by Prince William, was posted on social media.

Without an official response from the palace, confusion around the image had fuelled online conspiracy theories about Kate which have swirled on the internet since her abdominal surgery.

Ahead of Kate making her statement, royal commentator Peter Hunt said: ‘This is damaging for the royals. They knew there would be intense interest in any picture they released of Kate.

‘Their challenge is that people will now question whether they can be trusted and believed when they next issue a health update.’

The picture shows Kate sitting in a chair with her arms around Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who are on either side of her, with Prince George standing behind, as all four smile at the camera.

But there was speculation that edits had been made to the left sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan, and other areas of the picture also raised concerns about possible manipulation.

In the social media post, Kate thanked the public ‘for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months’.

Within hours of the photo being shared around the world, multiple picture agencies issued a ‘kill notification’ – an industry term used to retract a photo previously handed out to publications.

Late on Sunday, the Associated Press became the first agency to ‘kill’ the photo over an ‘inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand’.

While AP said there was no suggestion the photo was fake, it retracted it because it said on closer inspection, the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet the agency’s photo standards. 

AP said its editorial standards state that images must be accurate and that it does not use altered or digitally manipulated images. 

The agency’s news values and principles explain that minor photo editing, including cropping and toning and colour adjustments, are acceptable when necessary for clear and accurate reproduction and should maintain the authentic nature of the photograph.

Kate also posted the apology on the Prince and Princess of Wales' Instagram account

Kate also posted the apology on the Prince and Princess of Wales’ Instagram account

It appears Charlotte's hand was copied over from another picture as there is an empty space where her sleeve should be

It appears Charlotte’s hand was copied over from another picture as there is an empty space where her sleeve should be

Kate's zip appears to be misaligned on the photo as the top of it is further left and appears significantly lighter than the rest of the zip

Kate’s zip appears to be misaligned on the photo as the top of it is further left and appears significantly lighter than the rest of the zip

Charlotte's hair seems to end abruptly on her shoulder on her right despite her hair on the left going on for a few inches

Charlotte’s hair seems to end abruptly on her shoulder on her right despite her hair on the left going on for a few inches

The corner of Charlotte's skirt was pointed out as another 'editing error' by social media sleuths

The corner of Charlotte’s skirt was pointed out as another ‘editing error’ by social media sleuths

As well as PA, five other picture agencies around the world have taken the extraordinary step of killing the photo of Princess Kate

As well as PA, five other picture agencies around the world have taken the extraordinary step of killing the photo of Princess Kate

Changes in density, contrast, colour and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning. The removal of ‘red eye’ from photographs is not permissible.

When AP determined the photo appeared to have been manipulated, it issued what is known as a ‘photo kill,’ an industry term that retracted the image and instructed clients to remove the photo from their systems.

‘At closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image,’ the AP said in its advisory. ‘No replacement photo will be sent.’

A second agency, Reuters, also withdrew the image ‘following a post-publication review’. ‘We are reviewing the matter,’ a spokesperson said.

Reuters picture editors said part of the sleeve of Kate’s daughter’s cardigan did not line up properly, suggesting that the image had been altered.

The agency could not immediately establish how, why or by whom the alteration had been made.

AfP then followed suit by issuing a ‘mandatory kill notice’ before Getty Images became the fourth agency to retract the photograph. EPA this morning also issued the same ‘mandatory kill’.

A spokesman for AfP said: ‘It has come to light that the Handout issued by Kensington Palace today of Kate and the kids had been altered, therefore it was withdrawn from AFP systems.’

A spokesperson for Getty Images told Sky News: ‘Earlier today our picture desk identified a problematic image provided to Getty Images by Kensington Palace. We can confirm the image in question was removed from our site in accordance with our editorial policy.’

Readers on X added a community note to a post from the Prince and Princess of Wales’ account which shared the photo. 

It said: ‘This photo is believed to be digitally altered and as a result many major news outlets have pulled the image from their reports.’ 

The Princess of Wales has not been seen since she attended the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham

The Princess of Wales has not been seen since she attended the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham 

The Prince and Princess of Wales's annual Christmas card image with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, appeared to have a Photoshop fail. Louis' middle finger was missing in the photo

The Prince and Princess of Wales’s annual Christmas card image with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, appeared to have a Photoshop fail. Louis’ middle finger was missing in the photo

William has been stepping up royal engagements in Kate's absence. Pictured: Prince William and Princess Kate are seen at a  ceremonial welcome for The President and the First Lady of the Republic of Korea at Horse Guards Parade on November 21 last year

William has been stepping up royal engagements in Kate’s absence. Pictured: Prince William and Princess Kate are seen at a  ceremonial welcome for The President and the First Lady of the Republic of Korea at Horse Guards Parade on November 21 last year

Kate left hospital on January 29 and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her children almost two weeks after having the surgery. Pictured: Kate and William in September 2022

Kate left hospital on January 29 and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her children almost two weeks after having the surgery. Pictured: Kate and William in September 2022 

The photo of the princess is the first released since she was admitted to the London Clinic, the private hospital where the King underwent treatment for an enlarged prostate, for a planned operation on January 16.

Charles, 75, visited his daughter-in-law’s bedside after being admitted himself on January 26, the 11th day of Kate’s stay.

She was also visited by her husband, William.

Kate left the hospital on January 29, almost two weeks later, and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.

Details of the princess’s condition have not been disclosed but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

The 42-year-old future queen was last pictured in public during a Christmas Day walk in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Kate is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter, and William, 41, temporarily stepped back from his royal role to juggle caring for her and their children as she recovered.

He returned to royal duties in February and is expected to carry out an engagement linked to his Earthshot environmental prize on Monday, as well as accompanying the Queen at events to mark Commonwealth Day.

Earlier this month the Army was forced into an embarrassing about-turn after suggesting Kate would attend Trooping the Colour on June 8.

Tickets were being sold for the event, with Kate expected to attend in her role as Colonel of the Irish Guards, the regiment which is trooping its colour this year.

However, it is understood the Army did not seek approval from Kensington Palace before publishing the page, and the website was subsequently updated to remove the reference to her.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data