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Kate Middleton's Mother's Day Photo Had at Least 16 Editing Errors as Experts Find Proof of Photoshop

Hype was heightened around the first official picture of the Princess of Wales following her abdominal surgery

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Photo experts and amateur sleuths alike are analyzing the official picture released of Kate Middleton and her children for Mother’s Day in the U.K.

The Princess of Wales, 42, released an apology and admitted that she does "occasionally experiment with editing" after multiple global photo agencies pulled the Mothering Sunday picture over suspicions of manipulation.

Taking a closer look at the image, the Daily Mail has identified 16 issues with the portrait of Princess Kate with Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, which credited Prince William as the photographer. Editing errors include obvious blurring around Princess Kate's hair and Prince Louis' fingers while the adjacent areas are in focus, alignment issues with Princess Charlotte's left wrist and skirt, the pattern on Louis' sweater being skewed and the zipper on Kate's top looking off.

The Mail spoke with and cited multiple photographers who said the picture looked edited, though their professional opinions varied on whether or not Photoshop was used.

Related: Kate Middleton Seen Leaving Windsor with Prince William for Private Appointment After Issuing Photo Apology

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton's Mother's Day photo errors

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton's Mother's Day photo errors
  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.

Sky News analyzed the image file's metadata, claiming to uncover proof that Photoshop was used on the image.

Sky News said the image was saved twice in Photoshop on an Apple Mac, "but it is unclear if it was saved on the same device." The outlet said the image was first saved on Friday night at 9:54 p.m. and again on Saturday morning at 9:39 a.m. The same timings were reported by the BBC.

The outlet's findings also confirmed the snap was captured at Adelaide Cottage, where the Prince and Princess of Wales' family live in Windsor, on a professional Canon 5D Mark IV camera with Canon 50mm lens.

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Sky News' science and technology editor Tom Clarke said in a video published on Monday, "Pictures can be manipulated, but modern cameras don't lie...if you can access the metadata embedded in the image file, which we did."

The portrait drew extra attention as the first official picture released of Princess Kate following her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16. The hype was only heightened by the fact that the Princess of Wales has not stepped out in public since Christmas, and Kensington Palace said she was "unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter."

On Sunday, multiple global photo agencies including the Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters removed the photo from their press libraries, citing concerns about manipulation.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall in Sandringham on Dec. 25, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall in Sandringham on Dec. 25, 2023.

Related: Kate Middleton's Photo Controversy Is 'Pretty Damning,' Says U.K. PR Expert (Exclusive)

The AP released a “kill notification” for the picture, writing in an alert to journalists that after "closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent," according to a screenshot shared on X by royals reporters Chris Ship.

Competitors have also made similar statements. A spokesperson for Reuters said, "The source of yesterday’s handout photo said that she has experimented with editing. The altered photo didn’t meet Reuters standards of image quality, and that is the reason we withdrew it yesterday."

PA Media reportedly became the fifth photo agency to drop the shot from its archives on Monday. The agency explained in a statement, "Like other news agencies, PA Media issued the handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the Princess of Wales and her children in good faith yesterday."

"We became aware of concerns about the image and we carried a report about it last night, and made clear that we were seeking urgent clarification about the image from Kensington Palace," PA continued. "In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service."

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According to the BBC's tally, the AP, Reuters, Getty, AFP and PA will no longer be running the picture of the Princess of Wales and her kids.

Although the palace released the image likely with hopes of squashing rumors about Princess Kate's health that have been circulating online, Mark Borkowski, a London-based public relations and crisis communications expert, tells PEOPLE that the controversy surrounding the image has "made it worse."

"Now some people are asking if it is all generated by AI or is it a Photoshop of a photo taken. It’s not something you'd want the royal brand to be aligned with," he says.

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