The Princess of Wales has apologised for editing a family photograph which was share online and sent to media on Mother’s Day.

Catherine said that she was "experimenting with editing" when she touched up the picture, and apologised for any confusion caused. 

The apology was made using Kensington Palace's dedicated channel on the social media platform X. It was not accompanied by an unedited photo.

In a post, personally signed C for Catherine, she said: “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.”

Royal sources said the Princess of Wales 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.

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The family portrait of Kate and her children, taken by the Prince of Wales was the first to be issued since the princess’s abdominal surgery and was released by the Palace to mark Mother’s Day.

But it was withdrawn with a “Kill” notice by international picture agencies hours later – and UK’s PA news agency on Monday – because of suspicions it had been digitally altered.

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.

The Herald: The picture was released to celebrate Mothers' Day The picture was released to celebrate Mothers' Day (Image: Kensington Palace/Mothers' Day)

The picture was released to reassure the public amid escalating conspiracy theories online over the state of Kate’s health in recent weeks, but the controversy – dubbed “Kategate” and “Sleevegate” – has been labelled an “extraordinary” turn of events.

Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy group Republic, said: “If the palace can’t offer a simple, innocent explanation then ‘Kategate’ is going to cause the monarchy serious damage.”

“The manipulation of an image that the palace says was taken by William is extraordinary.

“If true it is a deliberate attempt to deceive the public.”

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The picture shows Kate sitting in a chair with her arms around Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who are on either side of her, with Prince George standing behind, as all four smile at the camera.

In the social media post, Kate thanked the public “for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months”.

Royal commentator Peter Hunt said: “This is damaging for the royals.

“They knew there would be intense interest in any picture they released of Kate.

“Their challenge is that people will now question whether they can be trusted and believed when they next issue a health update.”