Several major photo agencies, including Reuters, Associated Press (AP), Getty Images, and Agence France-Presse (AFP), have withdrawn a recently circulated image of the Princess of Wales due to concerns about manipulation by the source. The photo, initially released to celebrate Mother’s Day, featured Kate with her three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

AP revealed that the image displayed an “inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand,” prompting a retraction by the agency. Kensington Palace has chosen not to comment on the situation after the photo was pulled by the picture agencies.

In a statement, AP explained, “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 the AP’s photo standards.”

Reuters, after a “post-publication review,” also withdrew the picture and is currently “reviewing the matter,” according to a spokesperson. Similarly, AFP stated that the image of the “Princess of Wales and her kids had been altered,” leading to its removal from their systems. Getty Images confirmed the removal of the problematic image in accordance with their editorial policy.

The Press Association news agency is seeking urgent clarification from Kensington Palace regarding the manipulation concerns but has not removed the picture from its service. On social media platform X (formerly Twitter), readers added a community note to a post from the Prince and Princess of Wales’ account, indicating that the photo is believed to be digitally altered.

While photo editing is common for professional purposes, the lack of an official response from Kensington Palace has fuelled online speculation and conspiracy theories, particularly concerning Kate’s health, which has been a subject of speculation since her abdominal surgery in January.

Royal commentator Peter Hunt highlighted the potential damage to the royals, emphasising the challenge of maintaining trust and credibility in future health updates. The confusion surrounding the image may contribute to existing online theories about Kate, who has not been seen in public since December.

Kensington Palace had originally provided the photo, taken by the Prince of Wales in Windsor, with Kate expressing gratitude for the well-wishes and support during the last two months. The Prince and Princess of Wales’ Instagram post featuring the image remains, but the controversy surrounding the photo may impact the public’s perception of the royal family’s communications.

Kate’s planned abdominal surgery took place on January 16, and while her recuperation was expected to last two to three months, she has not been seen in public since December. The recent developments may add to the speculation about her health, which the palace has kept private, emphasizing that it is not cancer-related. The Prince of Wales, William, has temporarily stepped back from his royal duties to support Kate and their children, with no official return to duties expected until after Easter.

Leaked image

The original image has now been leaked. It is very clear where the manipulation has occurred, but the following enables us to ask our readers to spot the difference. The first image is the one released by Kensington Palace, and the second is the leaked original.

Kensington Palace version:

Photo credit: Kensington Palace

Original leaked:

Photocredit: BOD

Or the one in which the Royal Family symbolically represents:

How did you get on?

Douglas James

We wish Kate Middleton good health, as well as any other Royal who is unwell. This post is not about individuals but about an institution that does not fit the idea of a modern democracy.

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