Photographer for Duke and Duchess of Sussex strongly denies altering couple's pregnancy photo

Misan Harriman, who took Harry and Meghan’s pregnancy photo, has denied altering the image (PA Media)
Misan Harriman, who took Harry and Meghan’s pregnancy photo, has denied altering the image (PA Media)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s photographer has strongly denied allegations that he edited Meghan’s pregnancy announcement photo amid the fallout over Kate Middleton’s digitally altered family picture.

It comes after an article in the Daily Mail claimed that the couple’s photographer, Misan Harriman, had altered a portrait released to mark the announcement of Meghan’s pregnancy in 2021.

The photo showed her and Prince Harry lying under a large tree in their garden in Montecito, California.

It was claimed that the tree seen in the background had been superimposed behind them, and that Mr Harriman had “admitted” to editing the photo on a podcast called Private Passions on BBC Radio 3.

The presenter asked him: “They weren’t actually under a willow tree, they were lying outside in a meadow, weren’t they, Harry and Meghan, when you took the photograph of them?”

Mr Harriman replied: “Yeah, they were lost in their love, at home, in their garden, comfortable, celebrating new joy.”

But in a video on Instagram, Misan Harriman strongly denied the claims and said that the interviewer on the podcast had asked him a “leading question”.

After playing the BBC clip, he said: “How that exchange could amount to me admitting to doctoring an image is insidious and really dangerous journalism.

“Any mention of meadows and willow trees comes out of the person doing that interview, not my mouth... I did my best to ignore it and focus on what I wanted to talk about.”

He added: “To see an article, saying, as fact, that I did what I did not do, is extraordinary to me. And then to try to merge it with this current news cycle, what’s happening, it’s just tragic to see.”

Mr Harriman confirmed that the only change made to the photo was “the black and white colour grade”.

“That’s it,” he said. “And the Daily Mail, and the journalist that wrote this, has to be better than this. It’s dangerous and unacceptable behavior.”

He later shared an original copy of the photo without the black and white colour grade and urged the Mail to issue “a full apology and retraction”.

Mr Harriman added: “No trees or meadows were moved or swapped, this is the image straight out of camera.

“Also that is a Jacaranda Tree, not a willow tree.”

It comes after the Princess of Wales was forced to apologise after digitally altering a photograph released by Kensington Palace.

The photograph of Kate and her children, taken by the Prince of Wales, was the first to be issued since the princess’s abdominal surgery and was released by the Palace to mark Mother’s Day.

But it was withdrawn with a “Kill” notice by international picture agencies hours later, and the UK’s PA news agency on Monday, because of suspicions it had been manipulated.

Despite calls for the original to be published, Kensington Palace said it would not be reissuing the unedited photograph of Kate and her children.

In a statement released on social media, Kate said on Monday morning: “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. C.”

The Standard has approached MailOnline for comment.