Kate Middleton Apologizes for ‘Manipulated’ Mother’s Day Image

Chris Jackson/Reuters
Chris Jackson/Reuters

Princess Kate Middleton was forced to offer a groveling apology Monday morning after a disastrous photoshop fail saw picture agencies and news outlets worldwide declare a heavily edited photograph inauthentic.

In a short message to social media the day after a sloppily edited U.K. Mother’s Day picture was “killed” by picture agencies and news organizations worldwide, Kate took responsibility for the error and apologized for “any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

It was an attempt to draw a line under a disastrous 24 hours for the royal family that began when Kate posted an image on social media of her smiling, surrounded by her loving children.

The goal of posting the photo Sunday had been to stamp out a raft of conspiracy theories about Kate’s health that have developed in recent weeks, but a sloppy photoshopping error on Princess Charlotte’s hand, combined with the fact that Kate was not wearing her wedding band in the picture, plunged the British royal family into a new maelstrom about Kate’s health and the state of her marriage.

Social media had lit up all day with digital sleuths pointing out errors and inconsistencies in the image, including a glaring misalignment of her daughter Charlotte’s hand and sleeve on the picture, which the palace has left online.

On Sunday evening, less than 12 hours after the image was issued on social media and via news agencies, four of the biggest global news and picture agencies that the royals use to circulate pictures issued urgent advisories: The picture should be removed immediately and the story “killed.” The reason? “Closer inspection” had revealed that “the source has manipulated the image.”

For prominent news and picture agencies to be accusing the British royal family of using them to serve up questionable PR images marked a new low in the royals’ often fraught relationship with the media.

The news was greeted with a wall of silence by William and Kate’s press team on Sunday night, with no comment being made in response to queries from The Daily Beast and other media until Kate’s tweet Monday morning, as social media conspiracy theories—and outright mockery—went into overdrive.

Kate is not due back for public engagements until Easter, which falls on March 31 this year.

Prince William was due to make a public appearance later on Monday at the annual Commonwealth Service.

An official source told The Daily Beast: “The Princess has shared a statement on social media. This was an amateur, family photograph taken by the Prince of Wales. Their Royal Highnesses wanted to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day. The Princess made minor adjustments as she shared in her statement on social media. The Wales family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day.”

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