Kate Middleton photo controversy: Expert proves the truth about Vogue photoshop rumours

The buzz comes after Kate issued a statement confirming her family portrait had been edited.

Royal fans believe Kate Middleton may have used an old Vogue cover from 2016 and Photoshopped it into her now-viral family portrait after confirming the photo had, indeed, been edited.

On Sunday, AP issued a statement that they would be retracting the image, saying, "At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image."

Kate Middleton's Mother's Day portrait with her children, which she confirmed has been edited
Fans believe Kate Middleton may have used an old Vogue cover from 2016 and Photoshopped it into her now-viral family portrait. Photo: Instagram/princeandprincessofwales

Kate Middleton releases statement on now-viral photo

Taking to her Instagram Stories, Kate shared a statement that read, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion with the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.

"I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day," she added, signing off simply with, "C."

Kate Middleton statement
Kate issued this statement on Instagram. Photo: Instagram/princeandprincessofwales


The Vogue theory

Ruby Naldrett, who works at the UK newspaper the Daily Mirror, took to X to share her theory on Monday, claiming that it appeared the 2016 image was used in the photo.

"My analysis of the Kate Middleton photo saga is that they took her face from the Vogue cover she did years ago and edited it in," Ruby wrote alongside comparisons.

Many users responded, with one saying, "Good find. Seems to be a step above a basic free trial Photoshop."

"If I were going to repurpose a photo to trick the public, I would pick a photo the public had not previously seen from my personal collection of family photos, not from the cover of a famous magazine," another said. "That's just sloppy."

"It's the sloppiness that surprises me," a third agreed. "If true, this is amateur work. The Palace usually controls Kate's image so tightly, to risk backlash over a simple family photo seems like a huge miscalculation. Makes you wonder what else they're willing to fudge

Kate Middleton the cover of Vogue in 2016
Kate's 2016 Vogue cover. Photo: Vogue

However, some were less convinced, with one user writing, "It's nothing alike. It's just the same face with the same smile, because it's the same person. Otherwise it's not remotely similar."

"Nah, it's impossible to remove the shadow/highlights from the sun on the cover photo," another added.

"Wait…are you saying a photo of Kate Middleton looks like another photo of Kate Middleton? I have no words to describe my shock at this revelation," a third sarcastically added.

However, others defended Ruby, saying there are "so many people here who have no idea what you can do with AI and Photoshop today".

TikTok user @clemyntine also shared some interesting points. Watch her video explanations here:

Expert weighs in on the Vogue theory

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, TJ Thomson, visual media and communication expert at RMIT University, shared that he isn't convinced the Vogue theory is 100 per cent accurate.

"I overlaid the Vogue cover on top of the Instagram image and think there are some similarities, but it's not, in my estimation, an exact match. Perhaps something like an 80-90 per cent overlap?"

He also shared this video, comparing the two pictures:

Speaking with Yahoo News Australia on Monday, TJ said that the portrait "wasn't a particularly good Photoshop job" and "there is very little" we can do to determine when it was actually taken. "It does seem very, very suspicious, and very, very risky."

"It has been picked up quite easily, quite quickly, within 12 hours or so, and it is really easy in Photoshop to just kind of face swap someone else's head onto someone else's body.

"It's probably more or less real, there could be a little bit of airbrushing, a little bit of smoothing, teeth whitening — that kind of thing, I think the basic components probably are accurate. But it's just a matter of if they are all accurate at the same point in time, at that same location that the photo is claiming it is."

Palace hits out at social media theories

The photo was the first official photo released by the Palace following Kate's abdominal surgery in January. While the royal family issued a statement at the time explaining that the Princess of Wales would be unable to return to public duties until April, many people have been theorising about her disappearance from the public eye since Christmas last year.

A very grainy photo of Kate sitting in the car with her mother, Carole, was released last week, which added fuel to the fire on social media, with many suggesting she looked different.


Following countless rumours on social media, Buckingham Palace was forced to hit out, reiterating that they would not offer any updates on Kate unless they were "significant".

"We were really clear from the start we weren’t going to provide a running commentary on the Princess of Wales’s health and only provide significant updates," the Palace said in a statement.

"Obviously, we’ve seen the madness of social media and that is not going to change our strategy. There has been much on social media but the Princess has a right to privacy and asks the public to respect that.

"We remind you of the statement in January where it was the Princess of Wales’s wish her medical information would remain private."

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