News agencies withdraw photo of UK’s Princess of Wales

March 11, 2024 - 9:46 AM
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Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales, attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 8, 2023 in London, England. (Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

 Several leading news organizations have withdrawn a photograph issued by Kensington Palace of Kate, Britain’s Princess of Wales, after post-publication analysis showed it did not meet their editorial standards.

The palace issued the photograph of Kate and her three children on Sunday, along with a message of thanks from the princess in her first public comments since undergoing abdominal surgery in January.

News agencies including Getty, Reuters, Associated Press and AFP withdrew the photograph later in the day. Reuters picture editors said part of the sleeve of Kate’s daughter’s cardigan did not line up properly, suggesting that the image had been altered.

Reuters could not immediately establish how, why or by whom the alteration had been made.

Leading picture agencies distributing news photographs prohibit the publication of images that have been overly edited.

The Reuters Handbook of Journalism states, for instance, that the editing tool Photoshop can only be used in very limited matters. “We use only a tiny part of its potential capability to format our pictures, crop and size them and balance the tone and color.”

Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Getty, Associated Press and AFP also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters said in a statement it had withdrawn the picture following a post-publication review. “We are reviewing the matter,” a spokesperson said.

The palace said the picture had been taken by Kate’s husband, heir-to-the-throne Prince William, last week. It showed Kate, 42, smiling and looking well, surrounded by Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.

Kate has been absent from public royal life since Christmas Day, sparking rumors and speculation on social media about the health of the princess.

Kensington Palace said at the time of her surgery that Kate was unlikely to return to official duties until after Easter, which falls at the end of this month.

Officials had said they would provide only “significant updates” about her recovery.

— Reporting by Kate HoltonEditing by Frances Kerry