Global News Agencies Retract Catherine's New Photo Amid Manipulation Concern

 Princess of Wales photo controversy

On Sunday, March 10, in time for the Mothering Sunday celebration in the United Kingdom, Kensington Palace, through the Prince and Princess of Wales' official social media accounts, officially released a new photo of Catherine, the Princess of Wales, surrounded by her three children.

The post (photo below) is accompanied by a personal message from the Princess of Wales, thanking people for their kind wishes and continued support. It was also noted the photo was taken by The Prince of Wales.

Princess of Wales photo controversy

It was the first official photo released by Kensington Palace following Catherine's abdominal surgery in January. 

However, hours after it was published, according to BBC News and The Washington Post, the image was pulled out by major global news agencies: AP (Associated Press), AFP (Agence France-Presse), Reuters, and Getty Images, due to manipulation concerns. They warned their clients not to use it under any circumstances.

The Associated Press on Sunday, one of many international agencies that distributed the photo, issued a "kill notification" - a term used in the media industry to indicate "retraction".

According to the Associated Press, they retracted the photo because it appeared to have been manipulated. AP says: "While there was no suggestion the photo was fake, AP retracted it because closer inspection revealed the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards. For instance, the photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand".

Additional information from Wired expounded the statement: "The pattern of her (Princess Charlotte) skirt appears to overlap where her sweater should be".

Here's the full version of the photo posted on Kensington Royal's X (formerly Twitter) account:

Princess of Wales new photo 2024
©Kensington Royal

Here's the part of Princess Charlotte's body where news agencies claimed to be altered. 

Kate Middleton controversial photo

The Associated Press set strict guidelines for publishing photos, although they allow minor adjustments to photos such as cropping, converting colors to grayscale, and other tweaks that do not deviate from the original source.

They are strict in making any other adjustments or enhancement on the photograph, they don't even allow their photographers to remove red-eye from their subjects.

Reuters stated that they pulled out the publication of the photo "following a post-publication review". AFP (Agence France-Presse), a French international news agency also issued a "mandatory kill notice". Getty Images, a popular global photo agency, became the fourth organization to retract the photograph. 

Kensington Palace, so far, has not responded.

By practice, news organizations set their own strict guidelines on the use of photographs, they will use manipulated photos only when accompanied by an explanation that the image has been changed from the original.

News agencies, such as AP, therefore make a commitment to their clients that their photos are accurate and not digitally manipulated.

Meanwhile, X (formerly Twitter), posted its own disclaimer on the Prince and Princess of Wales's official account saying the image is "believed to be digitally altered".

We will wait for the response of Kensington Palace regarding this issue. The four global news agencies did not doubt the authenticity of the photo released by Kensington Palace (in other words they did not say the photo was fake), their only concern was the manipulation done on the photograph after conducting a thorough inspection.

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Princess of Wales thrown under the bus by Kensington Palace

UPDATE today, March 11:

Kensington Palace already responded today regarding the "manipulated" photo with a personal message signed by the Princess of Wales. It reads:

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day" - C

From their Instagram story

Original post on X (formerly Twitter)

The signed "C" indicates the message directly came from Catherine, the Princess of Wales. 

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