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What appears to have been manipulated in the Princess Kate image?

Britain’s Princess Catherine has apologised for confusion caused by the release of an edited image on Sunday of her and her three children.

Major news agencies withdrew circulation of the image hours after its publication on foot of concerns, since confirmed, the image had been manipulated or edited.

It was the first image to be officially released since the princess’s abdominal surgery in January, and appeared to have been released with the intent of countering speculation online about her health.

The princess has not made any public appearances since December.

Read more: Kate Middleton sorry for ‘any confusion’ over edited photo

Kensington Palace, the Royal House of Princess Catherine and her husband Prince William, said yesterday the image was taken by Prince William.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” the Princess of Wales said in an online post on Monday. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. C.”

So, what appears to have been manipulated?

Areas of apparent manipulation in the released image

It may be the case that image released is a composited version of several similar images taken of the same scene.

Most changes appear to have been made unsubtly using Photoshop or a similar software. Making the type of changes to an image which are apparent would require more than a basic understanding of such software.

There are at least four clear changes made, although the reasons for the changes are not known.

Princess Catherine’s right hand appears to be edited, or perhaps added. It is at a lower resolution to the rest of the image.

Princess Catherine’s right hand in the manipulated image

Behind Kate and William’s youngest child, Louis, there is a break in the line of a step, indicating a surrounding area of the image has been moved or repositioned.

A step behind Prince Louis

The area around the left sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan is manipulated. The area between the sleeve and Princess Catherine’s left hand appears to be taken from another image.

Princess Charlotte’s left wrist

Princess Charlotte’s skirt also appears cropped or misaligned against her brother’s hand.

Princess Charlotte’s skirt

Such edits are not unusual in events photography – for example, wedding photography – but are not considered acceptable in press photography.

The image appeared to have been released to dispel rumours and speculation about the health of the princess, but the use of photo manipulation has spectacularly backfired.

It has already fueled discussion about the health of the princess and appears likely to taint how the public and press perceive images released by the Royal family in future.

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