Photoshopped photo of Princess Kate removed by several news agencies

Several major press agencies removed from their catalogue, on the evening of Sunday March 10, a photograph of the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, and her children, released a few hours earlier by the royal family

Photoshopped photo of Princess Kate removed by several news agencies

Several major press agencies removed from their catalogue, on the evening of Sunday March 10, a photograph of the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, and her children, released a few hours earlier by the royal family. The publication of the image took place in a sensitive context for Kensington Palace, whose lack of communication around the operation undergone by Kate Middleton in mid-January has raised questions for several weeks.

Among them, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP) and Reuters justify their decision by the fact that the image had been visibly heavily modified. For AP, this choice is fueled by the fact that the image “did not respect photographic standards”. “It has emerged that the image provided by Kensington Palace today [Sunday] of Kate and her children has been altered,” AFP said. The UK's national agency PA also removed the image from its servers, expressing "concerns about it". On Monday morning, Kensington Palace's X account posted an "apology" from the princess, who explained that, like "many amateur photographers," she "occasionally experiments with retouching."

In this photo, presented by the palace as taken by Prince William, and published on the couple's official social media accounts, Kate sits smiling on a garden chair, dressed in jeans, a sweater and a a dark jacket, surrounded by her three children, Louis, George and Charlotte (from left to right), smiling. The photo was taken “in Windsor earlier this week,” the palace said. On closer inspection, several details of the image appear to have been retouched.

Intriguing details

First, on the right, the sleeve of Charlotte's sweater has been awkwardly erased. The couple's daughter's knee was also slightly erased. On the left of the image, Louis' sweater has been modified, revealing inconsistencies in the pattern. Furthermore, part of the garment seems affected by a form of blur characteristic of an alteration aimed at repeating a pattern.

A break at ground level also appears to be the result of clumsy editing, revealing a small inconsistency. However, the blurring of the area in the background does not allow us to certify that this is another hazardous manipulation.

We can still mention this strange break on the zipper of Kate's jacket, but also her right hand which is strangely blurred even though the shot in which she is standing is clear. However, the photo, taken in broad daylight, could have benefited from a short exposure time, which seems to be supported by the shallow depth of field, which suggests that the photo was taken at wide aperture. Le Monde was not able to access the original data of the image, which would allow us to know its exposure time and its photometric aperture.

Finally, many Internet users cited by the British tabloid The Sun wonder why the princess is not wearing, as usual, her wedding ring on her left hand. Other details are still intriguing, like this shadow cast by Kate's hair on George's hand, too strongly contrasted to be completely natural, according to the American media The Verge.

In all cases, these manipulations, of different size and nature, of several details in various places in the image make it difficult to understand exactly what they are trying to hide.

Questions about the princess

This manipulated image risks fueling many questions surrounding Princess Kate. His last official public appearance was at the royal family's Christmas mass at Sandringham at the end of December. An unprecedented discretion for the princess, whose travels are closely followed by the British media.

In mid-January, Kensington Palace announced that the princess had undergone a “scheduled” abdominal operation the day before in a London clinic, without specifying the cause, denying that it was linked to cancer.

Relaying Kate's "wish" "that her personal medical information remain private", he communicated that she would not participate in any official public engagements before Easter. William had also reduced his schedule to stay with his wife and their children.

At the beginning of March, the palace's precise communication was put to the test. The British Ministry of Defense mentioned on one of its websites that the princess had planned to participate on June 8 in one of the military parades organized for the official birthday of the sovereign.

Obviously caught off guard, Kensington Palace, which manages Kate and William's agenda, has not confirmed the event, while royal sources say it was not consulted in advance by the government , which ultimately removed mention of Kate's presence.

The communication around the state of health of the Princess of Wales contrasts with the transparency effort led by Buckingham Palace around the cancer from which Charles III suffers. Although his nature has not been clarified, the king is regularly photographed in the few official functions he continues to perform, mainly interviews with the prime minister and foreign diplomats.