Princess Kate admits photo editing, apologizes

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London — Catherine, the Princess of Wales, issued an apology on social media Monday for editing a photo of her family that was released to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K. The photo, released by Kensington Palace on Sunday, has been taken down by a number of major global news agencies over manipulation of the image.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” the princess, best known as Kate, said in a message shared on a Kensington Palace social media account on Monday. “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”

The image in question, which shows Kate sitting with her three children, was the first image released of the princess since she underwent abdominal surgery about two months ago. Credit for the photo was given to Kate’s husband William, the Prince of Wales. The image was posted on social media with the message: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.”

Soon after the image was published by Kensington Palace, international photo agencies including The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP removed it from distribution to their client news organizations over apparent violations of their standards. 

The AP said it had removed the image “because at closer inspection, it appeared 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.”

Online commentators noted blurring around one of Charlotte’s sleeves, while others pointed out what seemed to be photo edits around the children’s hair and hands.

On Monday, Britain’s Press Association news agency, which is often the first to receive and report royal news and media, said it, too, was dropping the image after receiving no response to its request for clarification from Kensington Palace. 

“In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service,” PA said.

A Kensington Palace source said Monday that Kate, William, 10-year-old George, 8-year-old Charlotte and 5-year-old Louis had spent Mother’s Day together and wanted to share an informal photo. The picture was taken by William, the source said, but Kate had made minor adjustments to it. The source said the family had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Despite calls for the original photo to be published, Kensington Palace said it would not release the unedited picture.

Questions about Kate’s well-being started spreading online after Kensington Palace announced she had undergone a planned abdominal surgery in January and would remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days. The palace said she would then continue her recovery at home and would not resume her royal duties until after Easter, on March 31.

The palace said at the time that Kate hoped “the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.”

With no updates on Kate’s condition, and in response to the online speculation and questions from the media, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said in late February that the princess was “doing well,” and that “Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands.”

Very soon after Kate’s surgery was announced, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that William’s father, King Charles III, would be undergoing a procedure to treat enlarged prostate. It was later discovered the king has an undisclosed form of cancer, and he is currently undergoing treatment.

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