Here's Why Kate Middleton Broke Tradition and Released Prince Louis' Birthday Photo Late

In the past, the Princess of Wales has shared her children's birthday photos right away.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (C), accompanied by their parents the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a settling in afternoon at Lambrook School, near Ascot on September 7, 2022 in Bracknell, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the wake of Kate Middleton's shocking cancer diagnosis and the news that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatments, royal fans were wondering if the Princess of Wales would continue her annual tradition of posting a photo of her children the day of their birthday.

For Prince Louis' sixth birthday the answer to that question was: Well, kind of.

As The Daily Express reported on the young prince's birthday, April 23, Middleton was late posting a picture of Louis via their official Kensington Palace social media accounts.

"It is something of a royal tradition that royal birthdays are celebrated by the release of photographs, Catherine has taken a great many and they are always eagerly awaited," Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, told the publication.

"This (would have been) a shame because of the vexed issue of her Mothering Day photograph," Fitzwilliams continued. "The revelation that it was edited led to a highly embarrassing contretemps and the subsequent revelation that she was not only recovering from abdominal surgery but bravely fighting cancer."

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On Mother's Day in the U.K., Kensington Palace now infamously released a photo of Middleton posing alongside her three children—it was said to be the first photo of the princess publicly released since she had planned abdominal surgery in January.

Shortly after, the photo was found to have been digitally altered, prompting media outlets to pull the photograph from their coverage. Middleton then release a statement via Kensington Palace social media accounts, claiming responsibility for the photoshopped image.

The debacle sparked overwhelming public speculation and outright conspiracy theories regarding Middleton's health, wellness, whereabouts and even the state of her marriage, prompting her to announce via a pre-recorded video that she has been diagnosed with and is being treated for an unspecified type of cancer.

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Fitzwilliams told the outlet that he believes there "might have been discussions" contemplating the best approach when it came to releasing Prince Louis birthday portrait, adding that the delay could "emphasize her need for time, space and privacy."

"After the misunderstandings of recent weeks, this should be universally understood," Fitzwilliams continued.

In her video announcement, Middleton said her diagnosis came as a huge "shock," before adding that she is "well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits."

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, celebrity, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.