A Complete Breakdown of Kate Middleton's Photoshop Controversy

Kate Middleton made headlines after her Mother's Day photo was pulled from photo and news agencies due to suspicions of manipulation

<p>PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty</p>


Kate Middleton is at the center of a major controversy regarding an image she shared for Mother's Day in the U.K.

After weeks of "radio silence" from the royal family following the Princess of Walesplanned abdominal surgery in January, Kate finally spoke out in early March.

As Kate, 42, celebrated Mother’s Day in the U.K. on March 10, she shared a family photo of her surrounded by her three children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — that was taken by husband Prince William, 41. In the post, she thanked everyone for their support during her recovery.

But the image was quickly at the center of another controversy for the royal family as major agencies began pulling the photo due to suspicions of manipulation.

Amid ongoing questions and theories about Kate’s well-being, the controversy has only sparked more public uncertainty in the monarchy.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the recent Kate Middleton Photoshop controversy.

Related: A Complete Timeline of Kate Middleton's Abdominal Surgery and Recovery

When did Kate Middleton post the photo?

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p>

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

On March 10, when the U.K. celebrates Mother's Day, Kate spoke out for the first time since her abdominal surgery. In a post shared to the official The Prince and Princess of Wales Instagram account, the photo featured Kate on a chair surrounded by her three children (from left) Louis, George and Charlotte.

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” Kate captioned the photo. “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.” She signed off with a “C” for Catherine before giving her husband “The Prince of Wales” a photo credit.

Related: Kate Middleton and Kids Had a 'Wonderful' Mother's Day Despite Photo Controversy, Says Source

Why did photo agencies take down the Kate Middleton photo?

Less than 12 hours after Kate posted the Mother’s Day tribute, photo and news agencies — including the Associated Press, Getty Images, Reuters and the AFP — began removing the photo from their press libraries, citing concerns about manipulation.

AP, in particular, issued a “kill notification” for anyone using the photo that stated after “closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent.”

How is the Kate Middleton photo altered?

After AP took the photo down, a spokesperson for the news agency released a statement to The Telegraph, saying, "The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand."

Others online have noted similar potential "inconsistencies," including the alignment of the sweater pattern on Prince Louis' shoulder, as well as a jagged white line in the background near his knee. The zipper on Kate's jacket also appears to be misaligned.

There are also several blurred areas in the photo, including Kate’s hand on Louis’ waist, parts of Kate’s hair and the greenery behind Charlotte.

Related: Kate Middleton's Mother's Day Photo Had at Least 16 Editing Errors as Experts Find Proof of Photoshop

What has Kate Middleton said about the Photoshop controversy?

As the internet spiraled with conspiracy theories, Kate publicly addressed the Photoshop controversy a day later on March 11.

Around 10:30 a.m. U.K. time, Kate wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "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."

A source told PEOPLE that Kate made what they called “minor adjustments” to the “amateur, family photograph taken by the Prince of Wales.”

Kate and William's motivation was “to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day," the source said, adding, "the family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day.”

What has the royal family said about the Photoshop controversy?

<p> HENRY NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty </p>


Though Kate made a public statement about the photo, the rest of the royal family, including her husband William, have not weighed in on the controversy.

Since Mother's Day, William has carried on with royal business as usual. Hours after Kate issued a public apology for the photo, the Prince of Wales joined Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day service.

Later that day, William stepped out for another royal appearance as he attended a kickoff celebration for The Earthshot Prize Launchpad.

Has Kate Middleton made a public appearance since the Photoshop controversy?

Shortly after addressing the controversy, Kate and William were photographed driving from Windsor Castle.

The image showed the couple sitting in the backseat of a car, with William glancing down and Kate looking out the window, away from the camera. PEOPLE understands that Kate was heading to a private appointment.

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