Kate Middleton Speaks Out About 'Confusion' Over Controversial Family Photograph

A photograph of the Princess of Wales was recalled by major photo agencies over claims it had been altered.

Kate Middleton is apologizing for "any confusion" over her latest photograph. The Princess of Wales shared a statement to social media Monday in which she expressed her apologies for the photo, taken by her husband Prince William, that was released Sunday to mark Mother's Day in the U.K. before being condemned as "manipulated" by major photo agencies including AP, Getty, Reuters and AFP. The photo was the first official image of the princess to be released since her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16. 

Signed with a "C," Kate's apology read, "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." 

In the photo, the princess posed with her children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, smiling as they thanked well-wishers for their support during Kate's recovery and assured them that she was doing well amid a slew of conspiracy theories as to her condition. "Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months," the caption of the original photo read. "Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day."

The image quickly made headlines, but picture agencies including AP, Getty, Reuters and AFP were quick to withdraw the image, citing claims of manipulation. Photo professionals raised questions, particularly about alterations that clearly were made around Charlotte's hand, and AP issued a "kill notification" surrounding the image Sunday, warning journalists that upon "closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image." In a statement to The Telegraph, an AP spokesperson confirmed, "The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte's left hand."

Princess Kate was last officially seen in public on Christmas Day, but was photographed unofficially in a car being driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, last week. The grainy photo has lent more fire to conspiracy theorists who don't believe the palace's repeated statements that she is recovering well from her abdominal surgery. 

On Feb. 29, a spokesperson for Princess Kate clarified to the questioning public, "We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant." They reiterated that the princess was "doing well."