Princess of Wales says she edited family photo recalled by picture agencies

The Princess of Wales has apologised and accepted responsibility for an editing error that led to an official photograph of her and her three children being recalled by international picture agencies.

In a tweet posted on the Prince and Princess of Wales’s social media platforms, Catherine wrote: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

The photograph, taken by Prince William at Windsor last week and released to the media through Kensington Palace to mark Mother’s Day, was the first of Catherine to be released after her abdominal surgery two months ago.

Though palace officials hoped it would reassure, after much online speculation and conspiracy theories over her condition and her health, it instead fuelled rumours after what appeared to be manipulation of the image.

The apparent image manipulation of Princess Charlotte’s hand. Photograph: Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace/Reuters

The princess’s admission that it was her error came shortly after PA Media followed other agencies including Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters in withdrawing the photo from its picture service.

A spokesperson for the UK news agency said: “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. In the absence of that clarification, we are killing the image from our picture service.”

There will have been dismay within the royal family that the photograph, which was intended to act as reassurance that Catherine was making a good recovery, had backfired.

There will also be frustration that the incident risks overshadowing the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, a key engagement in the royal family’s diary, and for which King Charles has prepared a pre-recorded message.

The full photo issued by Kensington Palace. Photograph: Prince of Wales/AP

Royal sources said the princess made “minor adjustments” and that Kate and the Prince of Wales wanted to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day.

“The Wales family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day,” the source added.

Kensington Palace came under growing pressure over the debacle with the controversy described as “damaging” to the public’s trust of the royal family.

Concerns were raised over a missing part of Princess Charlotte’s sleeve and the misaligned edge of her skirt, with other speculation including the positioning of Kate’s zip and the positioning of one of Prince Louis’s hands.