Kate picture heats up rumours instead of quelling public curiosityon March 11, 2024 at 3:14 am

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Details of the Princess of Wales’s Mother’s Day image are being pored over as agencies withdraw the photo.

Catherine with Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince GeorgeImage source, Prince of Wales

It was supposed to be the image that reassured a curious public and dampened down the online rumours about the wellbeing of the Princess of Wales. It hasn’t quite played out that way.

Instead, every detail of the photo that Catherine and Prince William issued for Mother’s Day is being pored over.

Are parts of Princess Charlotte’s wrist and cardigan sleeve missing? Do Prince Louis’ hands look right? Should that tree in the background have leaves like that in mid March?

The photo, which was published to stop the questions about why Catherine has not been in the public eye, has done no such thing.

The language of the news agencies, who have withdrawn the image, has added to the drama.

Reuters issued a “kill notice” telling its clients not to publish the picture. The Associated Press (AP) sent out a “photo kill” email accusing the source of the image of “manipulating” the picture.

The BBC first published the picture at 09:00 on Sunday.

Catherine with Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George

Image source, Prince of Wales

In order to use the new photo as quickly as possible we took the one used by Kensington Palace on their social media accounts.

The image was also distributed to all UK media via the PA Media agency. This is usual practice when we haven’t filmed the event or taken the photo ourselves.

But given this is the Royal Family and a photo that would be seen by hundreds of millions around the world, why wasn’t a professional photographer behind the camera?

If you didn’t realise the protocol, private royal events are often covered by one invited photographer, whether that is a respected portrait photographer or one member of the national press who must then distribute the photo to all sections of the media via the “royal rota” arrangement.

However, as the Princess of Wales recovers from surgery, the pool of people around her is limited to close friends and family.

It meant no official photographer was brought in.

Prince William instead took the picture of his wife and three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

But this is also this couple’s regular modus operandi. Catherine, who is a keen photographer, took pictures of her children to mark their birthdays including Princess Charlotte’s last May, Prince George’s in July 2022 and Prince Louis on a beach in Norfolk in April 2022.

It was back to the old tradition last year for Prince George’s10th birthday in July and for Prince Louis in April, when their pictures were taken by portrait photographer Millie Pilkington.

Prince William drives to visit Catherine

Image source, PA Media

But, before Prince William’s image of his family was posted online, it would have gone through the social media team at Kensington Palace who manage the online accounts of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

It may well have been that some editing was done on the original photo which has now resulted in the discrepancies in its appearance.

The implication here is not that the entire photo is a fake or that the Princess of Wales is more unwell than she appears in the image. That seems unlikely and would be a very high-risk strategy from the Kensington Palace team.

By releasing the photo, they are trying to dial down the speculation and gossip, not accelerate it.

At this stage, the more likely explanation is that some overzealous editing of the picture to get it ready for publication has actually cast doubt on its authenticity.

The photo, designed to cool the conversation around the Princess of Wales’s recovery, has instead heated all the rumours up again.

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