Harry and Meghan photographer lifts lid on pregnancy picture editing claims

The Sussexes were drawn into the photo editing furore after the Princess of Wales admitted to have touched up a Mother’s Day picture

Lydia Patrick
Friday 15 March 2024 06:27 GMT
Harry and Meghan's photographer denies adding tree into background of Sussexes pregnancy shot

A photographer who captured a black-and-white portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has hit back at claims he edited a willow tree into the background of the shot.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were drawn into the royal photo editing furore after the Princess of Wales admitted to having touched up a Mother’s Day picture – sparking a global discussion about the ethics of editing images.

In the wake of the Kate revelations, it was claimed a large willow tree was added into the portrait of Harry and a pregnant Meghan, taken on Valentine’s day by acclaimed artist Misan Harriman.

But Mr Harriman has since hit out at claims, posting on X/Twitter that such suggestions were false.

He said: “Apparently I was switching out trees and meadows. And I admitted to this in an episode of a podcast called Private Passions. This is crazy.”

He added: “How that [podcast] exchange could amount to me admitting to doctoring an image is insidious.”

Mr Hariman also accused the podcast host of using leading questions, which he said he tried to ignore before denying any photoshopping. He then shared the original image complete with a willow tree in the background.

The Princess of Wales’s photo editing faux-pas plunged a swathe of other royal photographs into the spotlight – with CNN and other picture agencies planning to review their back catalogues.

(Duke and Duchess of Sussex)

Meanwhile, sources in Page Six, an American tabloid site, claimed Meghan “would never make that mistake’” and that the Sussexes would “have been annihilated” if they handed out edited photographs of themselves.

Mr Harriman, a photographer and close friend of Meghan’s took the black-and-white picture in their California garden. He later shared how he took the picture thousands of miles away from London using special technology on his iPad, which allowed him to instruct the couple’s posing and remotely press the shutter.

The original image before it was converted to black-and-white (Misan Harriman @misanharriman/Twitter)

In 2022, he was asked during an appearance on BBC Radio 3 podcast Private Passions about the photograph.

He told the show: “It’s amazing what you can do with technology.”

When the presenter asked the photographer if they were under a willow tree - he admitted they were lying outside in a meadow.

The edited photograph the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared on Mother’ Day (Prince of Wales )

Mr Harriman said: “They were lost in their love, at home, in their garden, comfortable, celebrating new joy.

In a separate interview he told Vogue: “With the tree of life behind them and the garden representing fertility, life and moving forward, they didn’t need any direction, because they are, and always have been, waltzing through life together as absolute soulmates.“

“When you see people who have the connection that they have, it’s like reading the pages of a book.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in