After various photo and news agencies pulled a photo of Kate Middleton and her kids due to concerns of manipulation, the Princess of Wales addressed the controversy with a brief statement on Monday, March 11.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Kate, 42, wrote via the official Kensington Palace X account. “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 photo in question was taken by Prince William in honor of Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom. It was the first photo that the family shared of Kate following her abdominal surgery on January 16. Upon its release, fans immediately began questioning whether the image was Photoshopped or altered, and many others wondered whether it was even a “current” picture of the princess.

Questions about the legitimacy of the photograph continued to flood in after it was revealed that various news outlets and photo agencies received a “kill notification” to remove the image. “Clients please be advised that the following story has been killed and should no longer be used,” the message said. “At closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent.”

The picture is still featured on Kensington Palace’s social media accounts with its original message from Kate. “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” her post said. “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.”

The royal family has been tight-lipped about Kate’s condition following her planned procedure earlier this year. After she was discharged from the hospital on January 29, the palace confirmed that she was making “good progress” in her recovery. She has been healing at Windsor in the weeks since with very minimal updates given about the status of her health.

Since Kate’s hospitalization was confirmed on January 17, the palace admitted that medical information was going to be kept private. “[Kate] hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private,” the family said at the time. It was also revealed that the Princess of Wales would not be returning to public duties until after Easter (March 31).

Still, as Kate remained out of the public eye for several weeks, conspiracy theories began flooding the internet about what was really wrong with her. “Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates,” a rep insisted on February 29. “That guidance stands.”

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