Kate, Princess of Wales, Apologizes for Editing Mother’s Day Photo

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, apologized on Monday for doctoring a photo of her with her three children, which was recalled by several news agencies on Sunday after they determined the image had been manipulated.

The decision to recall the photo reignited a storm of speculation about Catherine, who has not been seen in public since Christmas Day and had abdominal surgery in January. In her statement, the 42-year-old princess chalked up the alteration to a photographer’s innocent desire to retouch the image.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Catherine wrote in a post on social media. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

The photo, which marked Mother’s Day in Britain, depicted a smiling Catherine surrounded by her children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

Kensington Palace said that William had taken the photo last week in Windsor, where the family lives in Adelaide Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. But Catherine is known as a keen photographer, and the palace often distributes her photos of the family.

Hours after Kensington Palace released the photo, The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse issued advisories urging news organizations to remove the image.

The AP said that after a post-publication inspection of the photograph, its editors determined that the image “shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.” The source of the photo, it says “had manipulated the image in a way that does not meet AP’s photo standards.”

The details of the photo show a range of visual inconsistencies suggest it was doctored. In several areas of the image, details like a sleeve or a zipper don’t line up, or have artificial patterns.

A palace official said Catherine made minor adjustments in what was meant to be an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day. The official reinstated that William had taken the photo, although Catherine edited it.

Samora Bennett-Gager, an expert in photo retouching, identified several other questionable elements, including the edges of her daughter Charlotte’s legs, which she said were unnaturally soft, suggesting the background had been manipulated. Catherine’s hand on the waist of her son, Louis, is blurry, which he said could indicate the image was taken from a separate frame of the shoot.

The photograph appeared on newspaper front pages and websites around the world, including the website of The New York Times. The Times removed the photo from an article about it on Sunday evening.

Adam Dean contributed reporting.