Kate Middleton photo pulled by news agencies over manipulation concerns

Lifestyle

A new photo of Kate, the Princess of Wales, which has been axed by the Associated Press over “manipulation” concerns, has only added fuel to conspiracy theories about the royal family. Other photo agencies, including Reuters and AFP, also pulled the photo.

On Sunday, Kate Middleton uploaded a picture to social media of herself and her three children in honour of Mother’s Day in the U.K. The photo, which sees Kate sit on a wooden chair with her arms around Prince Louis, 5, and Princess Charlotte, 8, with Prince George, 10, behind, is the first official image of the 42-year-old Princess since she underwent abdominal surgery nearly two months ago.

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” Kate wrote, accompanying the photo credited to her husband, William, the Prince of Wales. “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

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Hours after the photo was released to great fanfare, the Associated Press issued a “kill notification” for the image, meaning the picture should not be used. The news agency barred the photo over concerns that “it appears that the source has manipulated the image.”

The photo appears to show an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand. Many self-proclaimed internet sleuths pointed out nearly a dozen other “inconsistencies,” though none have been verified by any photo experts as of this writing.

The Princess does not appear to be wearing her wedding ring in the picture, only worsening speculation from eagle-eyed skeptics on social media.


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The Palace has not provided any official comment or response to the agencies’ removal of the photo.

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Since the Palace first announced Kate would be having surgery, several wholly unfounded rumours have snowballed online, suggesting everything from a possible cosmetic procedure to a mental breakdown.

Other out-there theories have suggested she’s in a coma or victim of a sinister Palace cover-up, though those claims were mostly stifled earlier this month when Kate was seemingly photographed by paparazzi riding passenger in her mother, Carole’s, car.


Click to play video: 'Where is Kate Middleton? Speculation runs wild as Camilla takes royal duty break'


Where is Kate Middleton? Speculation runs wild as Camilla takes royal duty break


Royal reporter Omid Scobie, who wrote the book Endgame about the future of the royal family, called the Princess’ new photo “mysterious.”

“At least three international news agencies, including @Reuters, have pulled today’s Kensington Palace photo release from circulation,” Scobie wrote.

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On Jan. 17, Kensington Palace released their first statement about Middleton’s health, informing the world that she had undergone an abdominal surgery the previous day at the London Clinic.

“Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter,” the palace said at that time, adding that she would spend 10 to 14 days in hospital before returning home to recuperate.

The Palace was clear that Middleton would not be making any public appearances, and would cancel and back out of official duties until after Easter.

At about the same time, King Charles was treated for an enlarged prostate and subsequently diagnosed and began treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer.

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— With files from Global News’ Michelle Butterfield 

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