Kate-gate: Princess of Wales Kate Middleton’s edited photo fuels conspiracy theories

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The British royal family rarely engages in public apologies, but that’s exactly what happened in the wake of a seemingly innocuous Mother’s Day photo featuring Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, and her three children.

This seemingly simple act of sharing a family portrait has snowballed into a media frenzy dubbed “Kate-gate,” riddled with questions about the photo’s authenticity, Kate’s health, and the Palace’s handling of the situation.

A photo gone wrong

On Mother’s Day in the UK, Kensington Palace released a photo of Kate with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. This marked the Duchess of Cambridge’s first official appearance since undergoing abdominal surgery two months prior.

However, eagle-eyed social media users and news outlets soon spotted discrepancies in the photo, leading to the photo being scrapped over suspicions of digital manipulation.

Just a day later, Kate issued a rare apology, acknowledging that she had edited the photo.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she stated in a social media post. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

While we now know that the photo was edited, there are still key details that remain unclear, like when it was taken, what changes were made, or if it was a combination of multiple pictures.

New picture, just airbrushed?

The photo’s inconsistencies sparked various theories and ‘#katespiracy’ trended on X.

Discrepancies like a missing portion of Charlotte’s wrist and an oddly angled skirt fuelled speculation that the edits aimed to improve appearances.

(Image credit: Daily Mail)

Another unusual detail that raised questions about the image’s veracity is Prince Louis’s crossed fingers on his right hand — and a seemingly broken pattern on the right sleeve of his sweater.

Some photography experts suggested basic edits were made to account for the challenges of photographing three young children.

Old photo, repurposed?

Another theory gaining traction online suggests the picture was not new at all. A TikTok user, Allyn Aston, compared clothing details to footage from a charity event in November last year, suggesting the photo was repurposed and heavily edited to disguise its origin.

“There is ample evidence of bad Photoshop throughout this photo and it is my personal opinion that it is because it is old and they try to change the outfits so that it didn’t look like a match,” she said.

Aston scoured royal fashion blogs for images from the charity event and pointed out that, besides a difference in colours, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sweater and boots from the event were identical to the ones she wore in the family photo.

The internet sleuth also matched Princess Charlotte’s shirt in the Mother’s Day picture to the one she wore to the event last year.

Of course, it’s possible that the royal family members simply re-wore those outfits.

Kate’s face superimposed?

Another theory proposes that Kate’s face was entirely fabricated, lifted from a 2016 Vogue magazine cover.

In an analysis posted on her X page, Ruby Nadrett shared an overlay of the cover and the Mother’s Day portrait and said, “My analysis of the Kate Middleton photo saga is that they took her face from the vogue cover she did years ago and edited it in.”

Who edited the photo?

Adding another layer of mystery is the question of who actually edited the photo. Social media commentary questioned whether Kate, recovering from surgery, would have the time or technical expertise for such edits.

This has led to speculation that a staff member might have been involved. The Palace has remained silent on this aspect.

Health concerns and the Palace’s silence

The photo controversy has reignited concerns about Kate’s health, particularly since her absence from public duties continues. The Palace’s lack of transparency regarding the photo editing and Kate’s health has only intensified public scrutiny.

Kate’s apology, intended to quell speculation, has raised more questions than answers. The Palace’s silence on these matters has only fuelled the flames of online speculation, turning a simple family photo into a full-blown public relations nightmare.

Published By:

Devika Bhattacharya

Published On:

Mar 12, 2024



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