After Princess Kate’s Unprecedented Apology for Editing Her Mother’s Day Photo, Don’t Expect to Hear Anything More on the Matter from the Palace, Royal Expert Says

“The explanation has been made.”

Kate Middleton at an engagement
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The reason for the edits made to Princess Kate’s Mother’s Day photo is one almost any parent can relate to—apparently, she wanted her kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, to look the best they possibly could. A source speaking to The Times said that Kate was “thinking of her own children when editing the picture, hoping that they looked good for their own sakes.”

Photoshop expert Stephen Davies—often referred to as the “Photoshop Guy”—said he doesn’t think anything “deceptive” happened in the editing of the now infamous photo, which Kate admitted to editing after multiple news agencies pulled it from their servers the same day it was released.

“They wanted to get a smiling face on everyone,” he told The Sun. “It is hard to get the perfect photo. They’ve probably taken two or three photos and blended them all together–but a couple of things have been overlooked.” 

Davies specifically pointed to Charlotte’s sleeve as a “flaw,” and added that her skirt looked “strange.”

“That’s a common thing, that they’ve blended photos together,” he said. “I don’t think they’re doing anything deceptive on it—they just wanted the perfect photo and missed a few areas. It shows multiple images have been blended together—I do it every day for people when one of the children isn’t looking at the camera.” He added of the photo that “the texture has gone from [Louis’] jumper—it almost looks like it could be AI. I use it all the time and I have to add the texture back in. It can only do certain resolution.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

Wales family photos are typically taken by professional photographers, which is normally not an issue...

(Image credit: Getty/The Prince and Princess of Wales/Matt Porteous)

Wales family Christmas card 2023

...well, until it is

(Image credit: Josh Shinner/The Prince and Princess of Wales)

Though Kate is usually behind the camera if it’s not a professional photographer, this time, because of privacy concerns surrounding Kate’s health, Prince William took the photo, reportedly in a short, 40-minute stretch of time on Friday at the family’s home, Adelaide Cottage. “We’re gotten used to the princess releasing pictures that she’s taken herself, often of her children,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight. “It is a very modern way of royal photography. On this occasion, it was the Prince of Wales who took the photograph.”

While the digitally altered image apparently surprised the masses, Nicholl said “In this day and age, it’s probably quite normal for all photographs to be Photoshopped,” she said. “You wouldn’t put a magazine cover story out without Photoshopping and airbrushing that image, usually.”

She added “My sources at Kensington Palace say that these were minor adjustments, and I think that’s a really important detail here. We’re not talking about superimposing the Princess of Wales into an image because she wasn’t well enough to be there. And that’s some of the wild speculation that is flying around on the internet at the moment.” (The theories, truly, are ridiculous; some are highly offensive.)

Kate Middleton at work with children

Kate has been *the* social media topic the past few weeks, likely much to her chagrin

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Outside of items of clothing—particularly on Charlotte, Louis, and Kate’s zipper—Nicholl pointed out that “keen-eyed observers have noticed some unusual things. Not least the fact that the tree behind them is in full bloom. Well, the trees that I’m looking at here in London—and it’s a pretty cold winter that’s still going on—don’t have any leaves on them, and that’s got people wondering.”

As for Kate’s apology on social media yesterday, Nicholl said “That statement could have come from Kensington Palace itself, but I think it’s quite important that it came from the Princess of Wales,” adding “but I think that’s probably the last word we’re going to hear—either from the princess or indeed from Kensington Palace on the matter as far as they’re concerned. The explanation has been made. An apology has been offered for any confusion, and I think you will notice the photograph is still on the couple’s social media channel. They’ve not chosen to take it down. The fact that Catherine has apologized for any confusion caused should hopefully put an end to [the controversy]. I think that’s certainly the hope at the Palace.”

As to the “pretty wild and outlandish rumors about Kate’s health,” Nicholl said she thought it would bring an end to them. (That’s unbridled confidence in humanity, but we hope she’s right.) “The fact that it looks like a bit of a botched job shows you that it was an amateur that was doing this, and that’s what she said,” Nicholl continued. “She’s an amateur photographer who sometimes plays around with digital enhancement—and that’s what happened here.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.