Kate Middleton's photo-editing confession sparks fresh accusations that a Christmas card was similarly manipulated

Kate Middleton's photo-editing confession sparks fresh accusations that a Christmas card was similarly manipulated
  • Photo agencies pulled a Mother's Day portrait taken by Kate Middleton over suspected editing.

  • Middleton, who's recovering from surgery, said in a statement that she digitally altered the photo.

  • It has led to chatter online about previous royal photos that people suspect have also been edited.

Kate Middleton has said she digitally manipulated the Mother's Day portrait of herself and her children, but it isn't the first time a royal image has been suspected of a photo-editing fail.

Amid speculation about Kate's health and lack of public appearances, Kensington Palace on Sunday released a picture of the Princess of Wales with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Most likely an attempt from the palace to quell conspiracy theories about Kate's well-being, the portrait did the opposite.

Kate Middleton wearing a deep-red fascinator.
Kate Middleton in September 2023.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

After major media agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press removed the image from their libraries, citing digital manipulation, Kate released a statement saying she altered the image herself.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," she wrote in a statement shared on Kensington Palace's social-media accounts on Monday.

Admitting that a handout image has been digitally altered is unprecedented for the royal family. It's also reignited speculation that other recent royal portraits have been similarly manipulated.

Prince Louis' finger appears to be missing in the 2023 Christmas card

In December 2023, Kensington Palace released the Waleses' annual Christmas card. The black-and-white photo, which royal experts told Business Insider felt "robotic" and looked like a "glamour shot," wasn't a crowd-pleaser.

At the time, online commentators suspected the photo, taken by Josh Shinner, was digitally altered because the middle finger of 5-year-old Louis, the couple's youngest son, appeared to be missing. (Others think Louis just tucked his finger under his palm.)

Kate's confession that she edited the Mother's Day photo has sparked fresh speculation that the Christmas portrait was also manipulated.

The Prince and Princess of Wales 2023 family Christmas card.
The Prince and Princess of Wales' 2023 family Christmas card.Josh Shinner/Kensington Palace via Getty Images

On Monday, users on X, formerly Twitter, wondered why photo agencies didn't recall the Christmas card.

"Perhaps the AP should review all photos from William and Kate. There was something off about their Christmas card too," one user wrote.

"So why was the Christmas card image taken by Josh Shinner not pulled? We all remember Louis and his missing finger but it was circulated globally without issue," another user wrote, adding that they believed the photo agencies that pulled the Mother's Day portrait were "playing into" the rampant speculation surrounding Kate's well-being and whereabouts following her surgery.

Another person said they were surprised the palace hadn't learned from the Christmas card's photo-editing accusations to be especially careful before going public with the Mother's Day portrait.

"After the Christmas card fiasco you would have thought somebody would have said hold on," they wrote.

It's unlikely that Kate's photo-altering confession will do much to quiet questions about her continued absence from the public eye.

Shinner, Kensington Palace, the AP, and Reuters didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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