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'Digitally enhanced': Another pic of royal family shared by Kate Middleton tuns out to be edited

The picture of the late Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was posted last year. An earlier picture of Kate and her three children on Mother's Day was retracted from news agencies after it was found that the photo was digitally altered.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee London Published on: March 20, 2024 8:08 IST
UK, Kate Middleton, Royal family, edited photograph
Image Source : REUTERS Reuters found Queen Elizabeth's photo posted by Kensington Palace last year to be digitally edited in eight places.

London: The infamous 'Kategate' continues to deepen as a second royal photograph issued to the media by Kensington Palace, the office of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, was digitally altered in at least eight places, Reuters confirmed after an analysis of the picture by the organisation's news editors. The photo was released in April last year showing Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Today would have been Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 97th birthday. This photograph - showing her with some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren - was taken at Balmoral last summer," read the caption of the picture shared by the Kensington Palace. It had been taken by Kate, 42, at the Scottish royal residence Balmoral Castle the previous summer, the Palace said at the time.

Earlier on Tuesday, Getty Images flagged to its clients that the Balmoral picture had been "digitally enhanced at source," without giving further details. "Getty Images is undertaking a review of handout images and in accordance with its editorial policy is placing an editor's note on images where the source has suggested they could be digitally enhanced," a spokesperson said.

While several news organisations including Getty and Reuters did not find any issues with the handout at the time, the examination of the picture by Reuters photo editors has found that there were eight places where the picture had been clearly altered by digital cloning. The process of digital cloning includes copying pixels to either move or mask objects or areas in a photo.

"Reuters is updating its procedures related to vetting images from Kensington Palace after confirming a second altered photograph. Consistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, Reuters requires that photos meet its editorial standards for image quality, accuracy and reliability," said a Reuters spokesperson.

The edited photograph controversy

Kate's health has been a source of widespread speculation following her abdominal surgery in January and a controversy over an edited family photograph uploaded by Kensington Palace. Reuters and several other leading news organisations withdrew a photograph of Kate with her three children which was issued by the palace to mark Mother's Day after post-publication analysis showed it did not meet their editorial standards, after which the Princess of Wales apologised.

The image was withdrawn with a “Kill” notice by international picture agencies and the UK’s PA news agency over fears it had been edited, and Kate is reported by the newspaper to have been left "devastated" over the media furore generated by the picture. "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," she later said on X.

Since the photo released by Kensington Palace was found to be edited, it has caused a frenzy about her health and even inspired conspiracy theories about the royal couple's relationship. However, the couple reportedly intend to continue releasing photographs to mark their children's birthdays.

However, earlier on Monday, there were reports that Kate made her first public appearance, where she was looking fit and healthy after undergoing abdominal surgery two months ago in footage published by UK daily The Sun on Monday. However, many on social media speculate that the woman in the video is not her.

The couple's Kensington Palace office hopes this informal film will help dismiss the wild conspiracy theories and speculation doing the rounds over Princess Kate’s health. Kate is not expected to return to official royal duties until next month, after the Easter school holidays.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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