Security minister says photos should be ‘honest’ and ‘accurate’ amid Kate picture row

Major picture agencies have pulled a photo of the Princess of Wales over fears it has been digitally altered

Archie Mitchell
Monday 11 March 2024 09:42 GMT
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First photo of Kate released after abdominal surgery

A government minister has said published photos should be “honest” and “accurate” after major picture agencies pulled a photo of the Princess of Wales over fears it has been manipulated.

The first picture of Kate since undergoing abdominal surgery, taken by Prince William in Windsor this week, was released by the royal family to mark Mother’s Day and showed Kate smiling while surrounded by her three children.

But just hours after it was posted on social media, picture agencies, including the Associated Press and Reuters, issued a "kill notice" over the image and asked their clients to remove it from all platforms.

Asked about the development on Monday, security minister Tom Tugendhat said it is important that pictures are “honest” and “accurate”.

Eagle-eyed royal fans had earlier claimed that the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up
Eagle-eyed royal fans had earlier claimed that the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up (Prince of Wales )

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “You wouldn’t expect me to comment on any photos, particularly not on Mother’s Day, when I think many of us were snapping away and slightly improving photographs that we took of our mothers, but mostly of our kids who were sort of wriggling around. So I’m not going to be judging on that.

“But I think it is important that we record what we put out is honest and that we record situations accurately. So I’m sure that like any family, there’s a few moments that you could get better.”

Mr Tugendhat said his department is “always very careful about what we put out”.

Before the picture was retracted by some agencies, eagle-eyed royal fans had claimed that the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up and suggested it had suffered an editing fail.

A caption on the Instagram post, which has not been taken down, reads: "Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day."

The photo, which AP said has been “manipulated” by the royal family, has fuelled speculation about Kate’s health and whereabouts since the operation in January.

The photo of the princess is the first released since she was admitted to the London Clinic, the private hospital where the King also underwent treatment for an enlarged prostate, for a planned operation on 16 January.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said his department is ‘very careful’ with what it publishes
Security minister Tom Tugendhat said his department is ‘very careful’ with what it publishes (PA Archive)

Charles, 75, visited his daughter-in-law’s bedside after being admitted himself on January 26, the 11th day of Kate’s stay.

She was also visited by her husband, William.

Kate left the hospital on 29 January, almost two weeks later, and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.

Details of the princess’s condition have not been disclosed but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

The 42-year-old future queen was last pictured in public during a Christmas Day walk in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Kate is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter, and William, 41, had temporarily stepped back from his royal role to juggle caring for her and their children.

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