UK Royals Busted for Another Manipulated Photo Taken by Kate Middleton

UK Royals Busted for Another Manipulated Photo Taken by Kate Middleton

Just one week after Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, apologized for editing a photo of herself and her children on Mother’s Day, the UK royal family is in hot water again over another family portrait—which coincidentally is connected to Middleton.

Getty Images, one of the world’s largest photo agencies, alerted the public to the second manipulated image on Monday when it placed an editor’s note on a photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Image has been digitally enhanced at source,” reads the editor’s note on the photo, which is still available for licensing.

The photo, a rare look at the late monarch with the family’s youngest members, was taken by Middleton in August 2022 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. It was shared by the official social media account for the Prince and Princess of Wales on April 21, 2023, to commemorate what would have been Queen Elizabeth’s 97th birthday. Queen Elizabeth died in September 2022. The photo was also sent to agencies like Getty.

Getty was one of many photo agencies, along with the Associated Press and Reuters, that removed Middleton’s Mother’s Day photo from its offerings last week. The agencies only allow minimal editing in the photos they distribute.

“Getty Images is undertaking a review of handout images and in accordance with its editorial policy is placing an editor’s note on images where the source has suggested they could be digitally enhanced,” a Getty Images spokesperson told Gizmodo in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The press office of the Prince and the Princess of Wales couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

To my untrained eyes, it’s not clear how many edits have been made to the photo of Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and Getty didn’t specify. CNN reports that it found 19 possible alterations, while The Telegraph found 7.

Here are the ones I can see with my face pressed up to my computer screen:

  • There is a misalignment of Queen Elizabeth’s plaid skirt near her right elbow. This one is pretty bad. The misalignment run from the skirt to the green couch, where the fabric dimples near the button don’t align.
  • There is a black cutout above Prince George’s shoulder. You can see it set against the green dress of Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor.
  • Prince Louis, who is on the right next to the vase with the red rose, looks like his head was cropped out from somewhere else if you zoom in.
  • Savannah Philips, the Queen’s great-granddaughter who is sitting next to her in red, looks like her blonde hair is going through her red sleeve. It then magically reappears.
  • On the side of the couch near the vase with the rose, there’s another bad alignment. Dimple marks don’t line up.

If you all find more, please feel free to let me know in the comments!

While Middleton hasn’t come out to say the edits were her work—it’s very possible she only took the photo—it’s hard not to make the connection. (The Royal Family credited the Princess as the photographer on social media.)The incident calls the UK royal family’s reputation into question and increases the storm of scrutiny already surrounding them due to Middleton’s months-long disappearance from the public eye after abdominal surgery. Middleton’s absence has prompted a slew of conspiracy theories, with some speculating that she’s getting a divorce from Prince William or is actually dead.

Coupled with AI, which has been creating fake celebrity porn and other atrocities, the incident seems to reflect the dawn of a new era where we can’t trust what we see.

In an interview last week, Phil Chetwynd, the global news director of Agence France-Presse (AFP) said that the palace had been considered a trusted source for a long time. Asked if it was still a trusted source, Chetwynd said: “No, absolutely not.”

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.