Princess Kate apologizes for ‘confusion’ over photo that was recalled by news agencies

Princess Catherine

British news agencies have joined five of the world’s largest distributors of photographs in recalling a photo showing the Princess of Wales and her children, claiming it appeared to have been “manipulated,” The Associated Press is reporting.

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Catherine, William seen leaving Windsor Castle

Update 1:17 p.m. EDT March 11: The Prince and Princess of Wales were seen leaving Windsor Castle on Monday, hours after Catherine apologized for “any confusion” around her Mother’s Day photo.

The image of the couple in the car was published by the Daily Mail. The photo showed Prince William glancing down and Princess Kate looking out the window.

According to People, the princess had a private appointment.

Catherine apologizes after photo’s release

Update 6:42 a.m. EDT March 11: The Princess of Wales issued an apology for editing the photo, according to The Telegraph, saying in a social media post, “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. C”

Original story: The photograph, released by Kensington Palace and posted by the palace on social media sites, showed Princess Catherine sitting outside with her children around her. The photo was credited to Prince William and was said to have been taken earlier in the week in Windsor.

The photo was posted on social media sites at 9 a.m. Sunday and included a message from Kate that read, “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.”

As the day went on, questions about the image began to surface, and the AP retracted the photo and put out a “kill notice” to halt its distribution. The news organization said the photo “at closer inspection, it appeared that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards.”

One “inconsistency” people on social media pointed out was with Princess Charlotte’s hand. Many commenting on the photo claimed that part of her wrist was missing.

Others commented that the Princess of Wales was not wearing her wedding ring, while a tree in the background appeared to have leaves in mid-March, and the alignment was not correct on the zipper on Kate’s sweater.

The PA Media Group announced Monday morning that it was pulling the photo. The PA group owns several media organizations in the United Kingdom.

A spokesperson for the U.K.’s national news agency said: “Like other news agencies, PA Media issued the handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the Princess of Wales and her children in good faith yesterday.

“We became aware of concerns about the image and we carried a report about it last night, and made clear that we were seeking urgent clarification about the image from Kensington Palace. In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service.”

In addition to the AP, the image was recalled by Getty, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Shutterstock.

The controversy over the photo comes after weeks of speculation about the princess’ health. Kate, 42, underwent abdominal surgery in January and has not been seen in public since Christmas. In recent weeks, conspiracy theories about her health and whereabouts have been cropping up on several social media sites.

The palace released a statement on Feb. 29 saying the princess was recovering and would be out of the public eye until Easter.

“We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant,” a spokesperson for the princess said Thursday.

The spokesperson added that Kate was “doing well.”

Speculation about her health bubbled up after Prince William withdrew from a memorial service held in London for King Constantine of Greece, his godfather.

The next day the palace released a statement saying that the princess “continues to be doing well.”

The recall of the photo by the AP came after the news organization said it believed the photo had been “manipulated” and distributing it violated the company’s standards.

A close study of the image revealed inconsistencies that suggested it had been altered, the AP said. For instance, the image appeared off in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand with the sleeve of her sweater, the news organization said.

In explaining its decision to kill the photo, AP officials said that the company’s “news values and principles explain that minor photo editing, including cropping and toning and color adjustments, are acceptable when necessary for clear and accurate reproduction and should maintain the authentic nature of the photograph.”

However, the company said, “Changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning. The removal of ‘red eye’ from photographs is not permissible.”


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