New royal family 'photoshop' resurfaces after Kate Middleton apology

New royal family 'photoshop' resurfaces after Kate Middleton apology
Behind Kate Middleton's edited photo
Fox - LA / VideoElephant

All eyes are on the royal albums as the public obsession with so-called “photogate” shows no signs of abating.

Conspiracy theories have swirled and trust has been slashed since Kensington Palace released what was supposed to be an uplifting (and reassuring) Mother’s Day message.

On Sunday, the palace posted a snap of Kate Middleton flanked by her three kids – the first official picture to be published since the Princess of Wales underwent abdominal surgery.

But it was withdrawn with a “Kill” notice by international picture agencies hours later, because of suspicions it had been manipulated.

Kate swiftly shouldered the blame for the controversy, writing in a statement that “like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.”

Naturally, this has prompted internet sleuths to search for previous “edited” photos posted by the royals.

And, suffice it to say, it didn’t take long to find one.

Netizens have seized upon a family photo taken at Christmas – a black and white portrait showing Kate, Prince William and their brood clad in white shirts and dark trousers.

In the image, Prince Louis looks alarmingly as though he’s missing a finger and, confusingly to some, he’s wearing shorts, even though it’s winter.

Other viewers have shared their concern at the number of visible limbs in the pic, with some suggesting the family is a few legs short of a Christmas card.

These observations aren’t new, however, they were made at the time, with one Twitter/X commentator recommending that they “get a new photoshop person”.

Also at the time, a royal insider attempted to put the speculation to bed, telling theDaily Mail: "It's not photoshopped. It seems as if he [Louis]... just bent his finger over. He's certainly not lost a finger – don't worry about that!"

But people are worried, and they are now demanding to see the original Mother’s Day photo, without all of “amateur” Kate’s tweaks.

Piers Morgan has led the calls for transparency, writing on Twitter/X: "The Palace should release the unedited photo of Kate and the kids ASAP. If it’s just a small bit of harmless retouching gone wrong, nobody will care.

"If they don’t release the original pic, the conspiracy theories they were trying to kill, will get way worse.."

The issue for the royals is that people are starting to think the offending picture contains more than just “a small bit of harmless retouching”.

A number of social media users have suggested that the photo isn’t new, or authentic, at all. And that it is, in fact, an amalgamation of separate images.

They point to a Vogue cover photo of Kate, taken back in 2016, and posit that her face was “taken” from this eight-year-old image and put into the Mother’s Day pic.

However, others have dismissed this theory, with one commentator writing sarcastically: "Wait…are you saying a photo of Kate Middleton looks like another photo of Kate Middleton? I have no words to describe my shock at this revelation."

And another insisting: "It's nothing alike. It's just the same face with the same smile, because it's the same person. Otherwise it's not remotely similar."

And yet, Kensington Palace is failing to quell the rumours by insisting it will not reissue the unedited photo of Kate, Louis, Charlotte and George.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski called the fiasco a “massive own goal” and said the unedited photograph should be released to regain trust.

He told the PA news agency “It’s plausible she’s at home playing with the computer and using an AI tool, but if they’re really going to regain any sort of trust they should release the unedited photo, it can’t be that bad if they just made a few tweaks.

“I find they have risen to the challenge, provided the statement as an explanation – the question is with all the conspiracy theories running around, is whether people believe it and I’m not sure that they will.”

Borkowski said the Mother’s Day photo had exposed a public relations problem for the monarchy: “That’s the issue, there doesn’t seem to be that much joined up strategic thinking at the heart of the royal family at the moment, which leads to these problems where it’s a very difficult organisation to manage in terms of PR.”

Commentators say the debacle is further eroding trust in the monarchy(Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy group Republic said: “Kate’s statement answers no questions. We can all see the photo has been edited.

“The question is why? Why haven’t they released the original photo?

“A statement parsed via the press office which says nothing and explains nothing shows a general disregard for the public…”

Elsewhere, Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith defended the Waleses and claimed they would not have been responsible for altering the image, adding “The smiles on faces said it all for me, I thought it was beautiful.”

Sky News said an examination of the photo’s meta data revealed it was saved in Adobe Photoshop twice on an Apple Mac on Friday and Saturday and the picture was taken on a Canon Camera.

Under the licensing agreement issued to photo agencies for use of official royal photos, Royal Households usually stipulate: “This image must not be digitally enhanced, cropped, manipulated or modified in any manner or form.”

Royal author Omid Scobie, seen as a cheerleader for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, accused the Palace of having a “long history of lying”, and said gaining back public trust was now “an almost impossible task”.

Scobie wrote on Twitter/X that if it was an isolated incident, it was an “unfortunate error”.

He added: “But with the Palace’s long history of lying, covering up, and even issuing statements on behalf of family members without their permission (cc: Prince Harry), it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the public to believe a word (and now photo) they share.

“Gaining that back at this point is an almost impossible task.”

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