Royals ‘rally around Kate’ as ‘Photogate’ played down by insiders as ‘bump in the road, not an earthquake’

12 March 2024, 17:58

Kate edited controversial Mother's Day picture (l) to make it 'as good as possible' William and Camilla at the Commonwealth Service
Kate edited controversial Mother's Day picture (l) to make it 'as good as possible' William and Camilla at the Commonwealth Service. Picture: Social Media/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Royals are "rallying around" Kate after a row erupted over the release of a self-edited Mother's Day photo, with one insider saying it was something "99 per cent of us do".

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The Kensington Palace insider played down the enormity of the Princess of Wales' blunder, saying it was a "bump in the road, not an earthquake".

Kate apologised after a number of picture agencies pulled down the photo following claims it had been manipulated. The Princess of Wales said she often engaged in picture editing and apologised for the confusion.

It comes after it emerged that the Prince of Wales took Kate's Mother's Day photograph in a 40-minute window before she edited it twice to "make it the best it can be."

Prince William took the picture of his smiling family on a £2,900 Canon camera before Kate made the edits ahead of Sunday's public release.

Aides had spent weeks planning the Instagram release for Mother's Day in a bid to put a stop to the vicious social media speculation about the Princesses health. Comments that have been posted since her surgery in January have deeply upset and angered the couple.

Kate's controversial Mother's Day picture
Kate's controversial Mother's Day picture. Picture: Instagram

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But the plan backfired after six of the world's top picture agencies including the Press Association and Reuters pulled the photo from their wires and libraries amid concern that the "source has manipulated the image".

This prompted Kate to take to X -formerly Twitter - to admit she "edited" the image and apologise for "any confusion" the image caused.

Kate is said to have felt that honesty was "the best policy" and wanted to "own up" to the Photoshop blunder.

Insiders told The Times that the Princess felt "awful" about the picture and had been trying to make it the "best it could be", adding that she was "thinking of her own children when editing the picture, hoping that they looked good for their own sakes".

Kate's apology for the Mother's Day picture
Kate's apology for the Mother's Day picture. Picture: Social media

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Royal sources said the princess had made "minor adjustments" to the picture, which she and her husband had hoped would be a lovely "informal shot to mark Mother's Day.

The source added: "This was an amateur, family photograph taken by the Princess of Wales. Their Royal Highnesses wanted to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother's Day.

"The Princess made minor adjustments as she shared in her statement on social media, the Wales family spent Mother's Day together and had a wonderful day."

Kensington Palace said it would not be reissuing the unedited photograph of Kate and her children, which in itself sparked further debate.

Palace aides did not spot any signs of Photoshop but it's not believed the edits were made aware to the princess' team before it became public.

(left-right) Princess Royal, Queen Camilla and the Prince of Wales attending the annual Commonwealth Day Service
(left-right) Princess Royal, Queen Camilla and the Prince of Wales attending the annual Commonwealth Day Service. Picture: Alamy

One red flag might have been the fact the beaming family portrait was shot in such a short time on Friday. The busy schedules of the Wales family meant the picture had to be taken while everyone was back at home and it would have been some feat for William to take such a captivating photo with all the members of the family simultaneously roaring with laughter..

A plan was put in place to release the photo and a message from Kate herself at 9am on Sunday - but what quickly ensued was 24 hours of intense scrutiny as the Palace faced questions from all angles over why the family photo appeared to be digitally manipulated.

The row overshadowed yesterday's Coronation Day service at Westminster Abbey, which was being led by Queen Camilla for the first time, accompanied by Prince William, in the King's absence as he undergoes cancer treatment.

His Majesty recorded a video message for the first time instead.