Photo of Catherine, Prince of Wales, Manipulated, News Agencies Say

Photo of Catherine, Prince of Wales, Manipulated, News Agencies Say

A photograph of Catherine, Princess of Wales, with her three children, released by Kensington Palace and meant to showcase her recovery from surgery, has come under scrutiny after news agencies advised news organizations on Sunday evening to withdraw it, saying the image had been manipulated by the palace.

The Associated Press and Reuters both issued advisories about the photo, which circulated widely on news sites, including The New York Times, and social media after it was distributed by the palace on Sunday morning. The Times has since removed the photo from an article about it.

In a “kill notification” issued on Sunday evening, the A.P. said: “At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement image will be sent.” It added, “Please remove it from all platforms, including social, where it may still be visible.”

Kensington Palace, where Catherine and her husband, Prince William, have their offices, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Earlier, a palace official said the photo had been taken by William this past week in Windsor, where the couple live in Adelaide Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The allegation that the photograph had been doctored is likely to deepen the mystery around Catherine, 42, who has not appeared in public since undergoing abdominal surgery nearly two months ago. Although a paparazzi shot of Catherine circulated last week on the celebrity gossip site TMZ, this was the first official photograph of the princess since her hospitalization in January.

The A.P. reported that the photo “shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.” The photo depicted Catherine flanked by Charlotte, her daughter, and younger son, Louis. George, her elder son, is standing behind her.

Catherine’s prolonged absence from the public eye, and the lack of information about her medical condition or recovery, has whipped up a storm of rumors and conspiracy theories on social media. The photograph, timed to mark Mother’s Day in Britain, was meant to dampen that speculation somewhat.

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