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Kensington Palace silent after picture agencies pull first image of Kate after surgery over editing fears

Several major picture agencies have pulled the first official photograph of the Princess of Wales after surgery over concerns that it could have been manipulated.

Buckingham Palace remained silent last night after Getty, Associated Press, Reuters and AFP removed the image and advised clients to remove it from all their platforms.

The picture, taken by Prince William in Windsor this week, was released by the royal family to mark Mother’s Day and showed Kate smiling surrounded by her three children.

In the post, the princess said: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.

But in an extraordinary development just hours after it was posted online, multiple international picture agencies issued a “kill notice” on the image.

“At closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image,” AP said in a notice to customers. “Clients please be advised that the following story has been killed and should no longer be used”.

The image, taken by Prince William in Windsor this week, was released by the royal family to mark Mother’s Day (Prince of Wales)
The image, taken by Prince William in Windsor this week, was released by the royal family to mark Mother’s Day (Prince of Wales)

Royal watchers had earlier claimed that the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up and suggested it had suffered an editing fail.

There was speculation that other parts of the image had also been edited. The palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Confusion over the picture could fuel bizarre online conspiracies about Kate which have been swirling on the internet since her surgery.

A spokesperson for the UK-based Press Association news agency said it had not pulled the picture on its service, but was seeking urgent clarification from Kensington Palace about the concerns raised.

Royal watchers claim sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up and suggested it had suffered an editing fail (Prince of Wales/Kensington Palac)
Royal watchers claim sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up and suggested it had suffered an editing fail (Prince of Wales/Kensington Palac)

The photo of the princess is the first released since she was admitted to the London Clinic, the private hospital where the King also underwent treatment for an enlarged prostate, for a planned operation on 16 January.

Charles, 75, visited his daughter-in-law’s bedside after being admitted himself on January 26, the 11th day of Kate’s stay.

She was also visited by her husband, William.

Kate left the hospital on 29 January, almost two weeks later, and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.

Details of the princess’s condition have not been disclosed but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

The 42-year-old future queen was last pictured in public during a Christmas Day walk in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Kate is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter, and William, 41, had temporarily stepped back from his royal role to juggle caring for her and their children.

He carried out his first public engagements since her surgery in early February.

Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, and siblings, Pippa Matthews and James Middleton, were expected to be hands-on in helping the Waleses.