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Princess of Wales apologizes for confusion after media retracts photo on manipulation concerns

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Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales and Mia Tindall attend Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk. 
Samir Hussein | Wireimage | Getty Images

Britain’s Princess of Wales on Monday apologized for any confusion caused after international news agencies withdrew a picture shared by the royal family, saying it failed to meet their editorial standards.

“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,” Kate, Princess of Wales, said on social media platform X.

Kensington Palace came under pressure to respond after Associated Press, Getty Images, AFP and Reuters released a so-called “kill notification” for the image, indicating they would not continue to publish it and that it should not be circulated more widely.

“At closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent,” AP said at 8:19 p.m. London time Sunday.

The image of Kate, surrounded by her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, was issued earlier on Sunday.

An image shared by Kensington Palace that was retracted by AP and other news agencies Sunday, after signs of digital alteration were noted.

Photo editors at Reuters said part of the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan and wrist did not line up properly, suggesting the image had been altered. Major agencies do not distribute news photographs that have been “overly edited,” according to Reuters.

Online commenters had raised questions about other details in the image, including part of the background wall that did not appear to line up correctly, and the leaves on the tree in the background.

As of Monday morning, the image remained posted to the Prince and Princess of Wales’s account on social platform X.

The post includes a caption expressing good wishes for Mother’s Day and stating that the photograph was taken by the Prince of Wales in 2024. Kensington Palace said the photograph was taken by Prince William at the family’s home in Windsor earlier in the week.

The Princess of Wales is currently on a break from royal duties following abdominal surgery in January. Further details about the surgery have not been provided.

Kensington Palace previously announced that she was unlikely to return to public engagements until after Easter, at the end of March.

The image and the social media post were Kate’s first message since then, and were viewed by some as a response to social media speculation about her whereabouts and health. Her office earlier this month said it would only provide “significant updates.”

King Charles has also paused royal duties while undergoing treatment for an unspecified form of cancer.

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