The biggest clues that exposed Kate Middleton’s ‘edited’ family photo

Lifestyle

A photo released by Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, over the weekend was meant to calm speculation as to her whereabouts.

Instead, it had the opposite effect. The plan backfired and blew up, after five major news agencies issued a “kill notice” for the portrait of Middleton and her three children, barring the photo over concerns that “it appears that the source has manipulated the image.”

Next came the mea culpa: Kensington Palace confirmed the photo had been edited, issuing a statement Monday attributed to the Princess.

“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,” the apology read, which was signed “C,” for Catherine.

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The Palace said the picture had been taken by heir-to-the-throne Prince William, last week. It showed Kate, 42, smiling and looking well, surrounded by Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at Adelaide Cottage — their home in Windsor on royal grounds.

Here are some of the major issues with the photo that verification experts and photo editors have pointed out.

Charlotte’s sleeve

Princess Charlotte’s wrist looks noticeably disjointed from the cuff of her sweater in the doctored image, almost as though a piece of her wrist was removed or cut away during the editing process. The cuff does not wrap around the wrist and the sweater looks incomplete.

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Also, the void between Charlotte’s sweater and her left arm, directly below Middleton’s left hand placed on her daughter’s waist, does not match the background of the rest of the photo. It could potentially be the fabric of Middleton’s jacket, but if so, that’s a pretty awkward wrist bend.

Charlotte’s knee

There appears to be a green blur around Princess Charlotte’s right knee, which is inconsistent with the grey paving stones in the background. The error casts a slight green halo and blurred edge around her navy blue tights.


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Click to play video: 'Kate Middleton apologizes for posting manipulated image amid public concerns'


Kate Middleton apologizes for posting manipulated image amid public concerns


Charlotte’s skirt


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On the young Princess’ right hip, her plaid skirt looks sharp, angular and disconnected from the rest of the fabric of the garment. Some have suggested the skirt may have a pocket, causing the fabric to stick out, but it appears unnaturally high when viewed in the context of the rest of her outfit and pose.

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Louis’ sweater

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Many have pointed out that the pattern on Prince Louis’s knit sweater is out of line on his right shoulder.


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Issues with the home’s structure

A number of inconsistencies have been spotted in the areas that surround the family.

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Areas of the window frame that appear behind Prince George and Prince Louis appear warped and jagged.


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A piece of the step behind Louis’s legs also appears broken and disjointed.


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In all, The Guardian imaging team identified as many as 20 potential anomalies in the photo.

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How did this happen?

Global News has reached out to a number of photo analysis experts, but did not hear back by publication time.

However, the BBC spoke to Professor Hany Farid, an expert in image analysis, who told the outlet the editing errors could be a “bad job of Photoshopping.”

He also said the photo might have fallen victim to new technology.

“There is a relatively new feature where you have a group of people, the camera identifies them through face detection, and it takes a series of photos in rapid succession,” he explained.

“And invariably what happens when you take a photo of a group of people is somebody has their eyes closed or someone’s not smiling, and so what this feature does is, it looks at four, five, six, seven, ten photos, whatever, and composites them together.

“When it does that it sometimes makes mistakes.”

Sky News analyzed the photo’s metadata and found that the image was taken with a Canon camera and saved in Adobe Photoshop twice on an Apple Mac. The first save, reports the outlet, was made on Friday night and the second was on Saturday morning. It’s not clear if the two saves were on the same device.

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The significance of the ‘kill notice’

Outside of minor alterations like cropping, minor sharpening and colour adjustments, photo agencies have a low tolerance for altered photographs.

The Associated Press, one of the agencies that pulled the photo from circulation Sunday, writes in their photo standards that minor photo editing is acceptable “when necessary for clear and accurate reproduction” but that an image “should maintain the authentic nature of the photograph.”

Similarly, the Reuters Handbook of Journalism states that Photoshop can only be used in very limited capacities: “We use only a tiny part of its potential capability to format our pictures, crop and size them and balance the tone and colour.”

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While Middleton admits that she occasionally edits her family photos it’s unclear if this is the first time Kensington Palace has released a manipulated image to the public. This is believed to be one of the first times an official royal photo has been withdrawn from photo agencies over alterations.

What now?

Members of the British press have called on Kensington Palace to release the unedited photograph of Kate and her children, but several outlets report that the Palace has refused to do so.

The intense speculation about the edited picture isn’t exactly helping the already rampant and unfounded rumours about the 42-year-old Princess since she underwent abdominal surgery in January.


Click to play video: 'Kate Middleton says sorry after edited family photo debacle'


Kate Middleton says sorry after edited family photo debacle


Some conspiracy theories claim Kate underwent a possible cosmetic procedure or suffered a mental breakdown. More extreme theories assert that Kate is in a coma or the victim of a palace cover-up. Still others suggest she and her husband, Prince William, are separating or getting a divorce.

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The omnipresence of these unfounded theories makes it all the more puzzling why Kensington Palace would release an edited family photo of Kate.

With files from Global News’ Kathryn Mannie and Sarah Do Couto

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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