Updated Post–March 11, 2024 (Scroll for Latest News Regarding the Mother’s Day Image Controversy and Supposed Editing)

As the Princess of Wales continues the process of recovery from her planned January abdominal surgery, she has maintained a low profile. Only photographed one time by the paparazzi since her operation, the mom of three has been completely out of the spotlight during her convalescence.

Thus, it was an unexpected and welcome surprise for royal watchers when a new photograph was shared of the princess and her three children by the palace today. Honoring both Mother’s Day in the UK and thanking the public for their well wishes during her recuperation, the new family snap marks not only a major milestone in the princess’ recovery process but also simultaneously shuts down many of the conspiracy theories and rumors regarding her well-being. Some media outlets even deemed the photograph “Kate’s Comeback.”

In the new photograph, Kate is seen looking healthy and energetic and is pictured with a broad smile sitting in a wicker chair on a porch at the Wales family home in Windsor. Taken last week by Prince William, the princess is surrounded by her children near the lush backyard. Possibly snapped following a school day for the Wales brood, the kids are outfitted in semi-dressy attire.

Taking a cue from their mom, the Wales children were clad in French fashions. Princess Charlotte is pictured in a burgundy Cyrillus Paris knit cardigan sweater set with a cable knit design and tortoise buttons. The design is called the ‘Wool Diamond Pattern Cardigan’ in Cerise. Made of natural knit, the girls sweater is comprised of 50% wool and 50% cotton. The sweater has a diamond motif pattern with a ribbed edge finish. Wearing one of her mom’s favorite styles, she is pictured in a matching ruffleneck sweater underneath the button-up cardigan. She also is wearing an Amaia kids check ‘Bonnie’ skirt, navy wool tights and navy low-heel tassel trimmed suede boots.

Meanwhile, little Prince Louis is also in a Cyrillus lambswool jumper in the shade kaki. The multi-colored round collar knit pullover is comprised of 70% lambswool and 30% polyamide. In addition, the sweater features buttons on the shoulder and a ribbed finish.

Prince George is pictured behind the princess and is wearing a blue knit sweater with ribbed sleeves.

Finally, the Princess of Wales is outfitted in a navy pullover with a high roll neck. She’s clad in a bomber jacket by British brand Bella Hoskyns Clothing. The princess wears their Bomber Jacket in olive green melton with a detachable fur collar and charcoal trim. Simple but with modern appeal, the lightweight coat has a quilted green lining with windproof melton fabric. A Nehru collar and hidden zipper keeps the style classic and chic as well as maintains a ‘countryside casual’ vibe. Shop similar at Nordstrom

The Princess of Wales also wore the Edina roll-neck wool and cashmere jumper in navy. She owns the same sweater in cream. The knit pullover features a relaxed fit, long raglan sleeves and a ribbed trim. A perfect mid-weight sweater for autumn or early spring, the relaxed turtleneck is also available in camel.

Plus, the princess is pictured in skinny jeans in a medium wash. For footwear, Her Royal Highness opted for a ‘recycle’ and selected her See by Chloe brown combat ankle boots. Designed from a dark brown suede, the lace-up boots have been occupying space in Kate’s Crown Closet since January 2019 when she stepped out in the chunky treaded sole designer boots for an outdoor walk at King Henry’s Garden (a community garden in Islington in the north of London and run completely by volunteers).

Getty Images

The princess loves the functionality of the combat boots and their rugged practicality. She has worn the stylish ankle boots for visits with the scouts, beach walks and trips to rural parks and lake districts.

The new Mother’s Day tribute photograph bears a resemblance to 2023 when Kate and her children were pictured in an outdoor photograph taken by Matt Porteous. For last year’s photo, Kate was seen sitting in a tree wearing her Mih Mabel broderie anglaise shirt with scallop trim and her beloved Superga Cotu 2750 sneakers.

Updated March 11, 2024: Irregularities were spotted in the Mother’s Day message released by Kensington Palace with regard to the visual aspects and elements of the photo. Major news agencies including The Associated Press, Reuters and even Getty claimed the photo suffered inconsistencies and was deemed manipulated. A ‘Kill Notice’ was issued to encourage news outlets to remove the image as it failed to comply with their standards.

A number of so-called anomalies have been pointed out including everything from cut off sleeves to irregular sweater patterns to distorted stones and blurred hands. Charlotte’s hair and sweater have been especially scrutinized with many believing the wrist of her pullover not aligning correctly with her arm along with an odd variation detected around the wrist.

Some social media users have claimed Kate’s face matches the same image of her Vogue Cover circa 2016. A Senior Social Media Editor at the Daily Mirror and Daily Star tweeted her analysis that the image perfectly corresponds with the princess’ Vogue cover and her face was overlaid (‘face swapped’) on the Mother’s Day photograph. The internet sleuths believe the tilt of Kate’s head and her expression match the cover photo.

Still, other TikTokers have speculated the princess released a photo from December of last year around the same time or the same day as the family visit to a local baby bank. (The palace claim the photo was taken around a week ago). This is highly speculative as the kids could have merely recycled their clothing (it would not be at all uncommon for instance for Princess Charlotte to wear the same blue boots or ruffled neck sweater). Plus, as a family focused on sustainability and conservative spending, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to repeat a cardigan, pair of shoes or dress shirt.

In addition, some royal reporters are calling into question the state of the foliage in the foreground implying the seasonality of the shrubs is not a match for March blooms.

Finally, further fuss has been made over Kate’s missing wedding ring and the fact that the princess wore skinny jeans. (The princess did wear the sapphire engagement ring in previous years for the annual Mother’s Day photo). Reasonable and sensible explanations would be that the princess likely removed the ring from swelling post-surgery or does not wear the pricey heirloom in the garden or casually around the house at all times.

The photo controversy caused such a stir as to elicit a response from Kensington Palace. The princess herself apologized for minor tweaks and photo adjustments. It’s been revealed by Metadata that the snap was edited on an Apple Mac computer on Friday evening at 9:54pm and the following Saturday at 9:39am (the photo was then released to the public on Sunday) in a location near Adelaide Cottage. The photo reportedly took a mere 40 minutes for Prince William to shoot so it’s no great surprise Kate would want to lightly retouch the image.

While some have claimed the photo tampering is part of a larger and more sinister story (i.e what is the palace hiding?), it’s obvious the princess merely edited a cozy and charming family photograph making tiny tweaks and adjustments to create a more harmonious photo and visually appealing final presentation. Nearly all celebrity photographs receive heavy airbrushing and photoshop treatment, thus, it’s unusual for this much controversy to exist regarding a family snap from the royals. As the princess is still recovering from what was likely a very painful and invasive procedure, releasing the photo was a courageous act and a  smart strategy to shutdown the social media storm of conspiracy theories and crazy accusations regarding the princess and her health and status. The Wales family remain incredibly popular around the world and their Instagram photo has received nearly 2 million likes.

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