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Princess Kate Middleton’s picture of Queen Elizabeth II flagged as edited: The British royal family’s PR fiasco explained

In the picture, now called out as “digitally enhanced at source”, late Queen Elizabeth II was surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was reportedly taken by the Princess of Wales at Balmoral in August 2022. Later, Buckingham Palace released it on 21st April 2023 to mark what would have been the late Queen’s 97th birthday.

In a fresh PR setback for the United Kingdom’s Royal family, another picture earlier released by them has turned out to be ‘photoshopped’. Notably, a global picture agency highlighted that the late Queen Elizabeth’s picture with her family, released on 21st April 2023, was “digitally enhanced at source”. 

In the picture, now called out as “digitally enhanced at source”, late Queen Elizabeth II was surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was reportedly taken by the Princess of Wales at Balmoral in August 2022. Later, Buckingham Palace released it on 21st April 2023 to mark what would have been the late Queen’s 97th birthday.

However, after review, Getty Images’ spokesman said, “Getty Images has reviewed the image in question and placed an editor’s note on it, stating that the image has been digitally enhanced at source.”

(The second photo of Royal family that has been called out by global photo agencies for “digital alterations”, Image Source – Telegraph)

According to reports, upon closer examination of the image, various irregularities become apparent. These include a vertical line where the tartan pattern on the late Queen’s skirt fails to align, a noticeable dark shadow behind Prince Louis’s ear, and a similar small black mark behind Prince George’s shirt collar. Additionally, there are indications of digital duplication in Mia Tindall’s hair.

The backdrop of the ‘critical review’ by Global picture agencies and the chronology of Royal blunders explained

Conspicuously, the Royal Family in the United Kingdom is currently embroiled in a PR fiasco. Their efforts to put conspiracy theories about the health of Princess Catherine at rest have only ended up having the opposite effect – fuelling them and giving more credence to speculations. Notably, Princess Catherine aka Princess of Wales (maiden name Kate Middleton) underwent abdominal surgery at the London Clinic on 16 January, this year. 

However, details of her condition have been kept private and reports suggested that she was not expected to return to official duties until after Easter (end of March). 

At a time when speculations were rife about her health status and whereabouts, a series of events and “doctored” digital evidence of Kate’s recent appearance have left the Royal family in ignominy. 

After two months of hiatus post-surgery, the Royal family, through their official X handle, released a photo that was intended to be Kate Middleton’s first photo after surgery. The now-reducted photo was released to mark Women’s Day in the United Kingdom. Soon it was published on the front pages of media outlets. However, after it was published, several inconsistencies were noticed in the photo. As per reports, several news agencies issued a “kill notice” because of the extent to which the Princess’s Mother’s Day picture had been manipulated.

(The reported irregularities in the Mother’s day photo, Image Source – The Guardian)

Following the critical review and embarrassment, Princess Catherine (Kate Middleton) issued an apology on 11th March and accepted the responsibility for an editing error in her Mother’s Day picture. Kate Middleton aka Princess Catherine held her amateur photo editing skills responsible for the ‘confusion’.

Her admission of digital ‘alteration’ escalated has led to a ‘critical review’ of several past images released by the Royal family. As part of it, Getty Images pointed out ‘digital flaws’ in the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth’s photo. 

The public and news agencies’ trust in the UK’s Royal family has taken a hit. Evidently,  global news director of Agence France-Presse (AFP) Phil Chetwynd recently said that his publication will no longer view Kensington Palace as a “trusted source”. 

Chetwynd said, “At this moment in time, AFP’s trust in handout pictures from the (Kensington) Palace has been compromised. We cannot say they are a trusted source for handout pictures. We still require further explanations.”

Amid the prolonged absence of Princess of Wales Kate Middleton from the public eye, rumours have also intensified around the alleged affair of Kate’s Husband Prince William with Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. The rumoured affair gained strength after a TV show. 

Further, the Royal family courted another controversy when netizens raised questions about Kate Middleton’s recent purported visit to Windsor Farm for shopping alleging that the woman was someone else.  

The British tabloid, The Sun published a photo and video claiming that the people in them were Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William at a farm market in Windsor. Reacting to the post, famous UK presenter Piers Morgan expressed happiness that Kate’s shopping trip will put conspiracy theories at rest claiming that the picture depicted that she was ‘recovering’. 

However, Morgan was quick to take a U-turn when netizens raised doubts about the identity of the woman in the photo and video. Taking to X, Morgan updated, “Nobody on here believes it’s them (it is…) so the conspiracy theories have increased.”

However, several celebrities and netizens have claimed that Kate is recovering and the rumours about her health status and whereabouts are mere “conspiracy theories”. 

Taking to X, Former English batter Kevin Peterson rubbished such reports as “conspiracy theories”. He even claimed to have met with Kate on most days and in the last couple of days too! 

He wrote, “The conspiracy theories around Kate are absurd! We see W&K most days and in the last couple of days too! It beggars belief that people would be so ridiculous and cruel in writing BULLSHIT on this platform that is out and out lies! W&K are the most wonderful parents and as normal/humble as they come. Let K who is recovering from an operation recover. Leave her and her beautiful family alone!!!! (sic)” 

However, the repeated PR fiascos from the Royal Family have failed to quash the ‘conspiracy theory’ and put an end to the rumours. 

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