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Instagram Adds Warning to Kate Middleton's Mother's Day Photo: 'Altered'

"Altered photo/video," a message in red now reads below the picture of the princess and her kids

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Kate Middleton’s much-discussed Mother's Day photo has been flagged by Instagram after multiple global photo agencies dropped the snap due to suspicion of manipulation.

As of Thursday, Instagram has added a new warning to the picture of the royal with her three kids, which was released on Sunday for Mother’s Day in the U.K. A message below the image on Prince William and Princess Kate’s Instagram now reads in red text, "Altered photo/video. The same altered photo was reviewed by independent fact-checkers in another post."

A click on an arrow leads to another message that reads, "The same altered photo was reviewed in another post by fact-checkers. There may be small differences. Independent fact-checkers say the photo or image has been edited in a way that could mislead people, but not because it was shown out of context." The platform lists the fact-checker as EFE Verifica.

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Instagram has added a warning to the Mother's Day photo of Kate Middleton and her children published on March 10.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Instagram has added a warning to the Mother's Day photo of Kate Middleton and her children published on March 10.

Related: Will Kate Middleton Join the Royal Family for Easter Following Abdominal Surgery Recovery?

The update came three days after the Princess of Wales, 42, issued an apology to social media around the Mothering Sunday snap after prestigious picture agencies including the Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters pulled the photo from their press libraries due to concerns that the picture was manipulated. Sleuths spotted 16 oddities in the shot, and Sky News later shared that an investigation of the metadata indicated the original image was saved twice in Photoshop.

"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,” Princess Kate wrote on X (formerly Twitter) and the Instagram Story of the official accounts she shares with Prince William.

Related: Photographer Who Took Kate Middleton and Prince William Car Photo Addresses New Editing Speculation

The photo, which remains on the Prince and Princess of Wales’ joint pages, shows the Princess of Wales seated with Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, around her. The image was especially significant as the first official picture of Princess Kate released following her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16, driving interest to a new pitch as she has not been seen in public since Christmas and is not expected to return to royal duty until after Easter.

London PR expert Mark Borkowski tells PEOPLE it was "damning" to the royal brand to have the image’s legitimacy called into question,

"The difficulty now is because there is so little information about what’s happening to Kate, if they were going to project things are all normal in this way — with a photo that is now deemed to be fake — it is pretty damning about the floundering and the poor decision making that’s going on," Borkowski tells PEOPLE about the consequences.

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

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Speculation continued when rumors said the picture of Princess Kate driving away from Windsor Castle with Prince William on Monday was doctored because the bricks looked different through the window and above the vehicle.

Goff Photos, the agency that got the shots, denied editing the images. Goff told E! News that the pictures "have been cropped and lightened” but clarified that "nothing has been doctored."

<p>Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty</p> Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William and Prince Louis on December 25, 2023.

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William and Prince Louis on December 25, 2023.

Jim Bennett, the photographer who snapped the shots, tells PEOPLE, "We don’t change our photos in Photoshop other than adjusting the light levels if necessary. Car shots are unpredictable at the best of times and with some reflection on the glass it can be difficult."

The outing marked the second time the Princess of Wales has been spotted in a car since her surgery, after being seen driving with her mother Carole Middleton in Windsor in photos obtained by Backgrid on March 4.

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