‘Altered’ Kate Middleton photo causes media storm

A photo of Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, has been removed from news sites over concerns it was digitally altered.
Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, has apologised for releasing a photoshopped image of her and her children

A photo of Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, has been removed from news sites over concerns it was digitally altered.

The Princess is on a break from public duties after abdominal surgery earlier in the year. Before the procedure, the Palace stated that Middleton would be recovering in private until early April.

However, speculation about her whereabouts has intensified over recent weeks. Today, Kensington Palace shared an image of the Princess with her three children. It’s now being accused of digitally altering the image.

Who is she?

Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge when she married Prince William, who is next in line to the British Throne, in 2011. His father is King Charles III, the current reigning Monarch.

After Queen Elizabeth II died, she became The Princess of Wales. According to the Royal Family’s official website, Princess Kate attends “engagements at home and overseas” and has “a portfolio of charitable work and patronages”.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ official residence is Kensington Palace in London, where their press team is also based.


In mid-January, Kensington Palace announced the Princess had undergone a “planned” abdominal surgery followed by a short hospital stay.

It confirmed she was “unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter” as she recovered at home.

The Royal Family rarely disclose information about their health.


The Princess was last seen at a Christmas church service. In recent weeks, theories about her whereabouts and wellbeing have been the subject of significant online discussion.

In late February the search “Where is Kate Middleton?” began trending on Google in Ireland, the UK, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

Kensington Palace responded by saying: “We said we’d only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands.”

Palace response

After the initial statement, a grainy paparazzi photo emerged of Princess Kate riding in the passenger seat of a car.

On Sunday night, Kensington Palace shared a photo of the Princess and her three children, coinciding with Mother’s Day in the UK.

The social media post thanked the public for sending “kind wishes” since her surgery.

The caption said the photo was taken by Prince William.

The photo

News sites

Hours after re-sharing it online, several news sites removed the image when The Associated Press (AP) issued a “kill notice” — an order to take down the material. AP is a newswire, meaning its images and stories can be reprinted by other news services which pay it a fee.

AP said it suspected Kensington Palace “manipulated the image”, and that it did not meet its “photo standards”.

X also added a pop-up warning on the Royal Family’s original post, which read “this photo is believed to be digitally altered”.

AP did not provide specific details on what aspects of the image had been modified.

However, online commenters have raised questions about elements of the image that appear to be blurred or out of alignment, such as 8-year-old Princess Charlotte’s sleeve.


Kate has responded to the claims, admitting “I do occasionally experiment with editing”. She described herself as an “amateur photographer”.

She apologised for the confusion caused by the photo.

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