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LOOK: The editing errors in Kate Middleton's viral Mother's Day photo

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Mar 13, 2024 11:39 am Updated Mar 13, 2024 12:42 pm

Photo specialists looked into the official image of Catherine, Princess of Wales and her kids for Mother's Day—the first photo released by Kensington Palace since her abdominal surgery early this year.

Credited to Prince William as the photographer, the said portrait became a hot topic on social media after some eagle-eyed users noticed some inconsistencies with it. International news agencies like AFP, Associated Press, and Reuters later issued a "mandatory kill" order and removed it from their websites.

Kate has issued an apology "for any confusion" the family photograph has caused in an Instagram story posted to the Prince and Princess of Wales account.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," she wrote.

"I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused,' she continued, adding a Mother's Day greeting and signing off with her initial, "C."

Photo editing issues
The editing errors in Kate Middleton's photo for Mother's Day

The Daily Mail identified a total of 16 issues with the picture, including the following:

  1. Part of Princess Charlotte's sleeve was removed above her left hand.
  2. The zipper on Princess Kate's top appears edited.
  3. Princess Charlotte's hair cuts off oddly.
  4. Princess Charlotte's skirt appears to stick out in a strange way around her waist.
  5. Princess Charlotte's knee seems blurred.
  6. The pattern on Prince Louis' sweater sleeve is skewed.
  7. Prince Louis' right thumb looks blurry.
  8. There is an indent in the ledge near Prince Louis' hand.
  9. Another distortion is seen on the ledge.
  10. The step behind Prince Louis appears warped with the floor.
  11. Prince Louis' finger seems cut off.
  12. The edge of Prince George's blue sweater looks enhanced.
  13. Princess Kate's hand is out of focus, but the area around it is.
  14. Princess Kate's hair appears airbrushed.
  15. Princess Charlotte's hair appears tucked strangely.
  16. Prince George's sweater sleeve has odd lines.
Photoshopped or not?

Sky News' data and forensics section, in a metadata gathering, had photographers explain the possible camera settings and how the photo was taken.

According to its photo experts, the image was saved twice on an Apple Mac using the photo-editing program Adobe Photoshop. However, it's unclear whether the image was "saved on the same device."

"The first save was made at 9.54 p.m. on Friday night, with the second at 9.39 a.m. on Saturday morning," the media outlet said.

"The image was taken at Adelaide Cottage—the family's home in Windsor," it added, highlighting that the image was captured through professional Canon 5D Mark IV camera with Canon 50mm lens.

Cameron Getty, an assistant photo editor at WIRED, pointed out that "an odd line across the image where Kate's zipper disappears," saying that the published snap suggests that it "might be a composite of more than one photo."

"I think this proves that it's been altered," the editor said.

Professor Hany Farid, an expert in image analysis, also told BBC News that the image was a product of a "bad job of photoshopping" as there are "inconsistencies" in the rendering of the photo. These include "poor photoshopping" and "artefacts of post-processing done by the camera to remove features like blurs, or a bad composite of images."